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Neighborhood Rocks                                     Search this Site

White Marble

White marble is one of the most common rocks in our neighborhood, because people buy it by the bag to decorate their gardens and walkways.

To learn more about white marble, scroll farther down this page.

Close-up of white marble
  
bulletHow to recognize white marble
bulletOther rocks that look like white marble
bulletSpecial things to look for
bulletWhere white marble came from
bulletHow white marble formed
bulletOther names for white marble
bulletLinks to Web sites about marble
  

How to recognize white marble

bulletWhite marble is is mostly bright white, but it may be streaked with gray.
bulletIt's made of medium-sized crystals that glitter in the sun
bulletYou can scratch marble into white powder with a nail or knife.  (See more about the scratch test.)
bulletMarble is made mostly of the mineral calcite, so it bubbles gently when you put a drop of white vinegar on it. 
    

Other rocks that look like white marble

White Chert:  
bulletChert is harder -- a nail scratches marble, but not chert.
bulletChert is smoother -- you usually see medium-sized crystals in marble, but not in chert.
bulletChert often breaks to form sharp or scalloped edges, and marble does not.
  
Dolostone:  
bulletDolostone is usually more gray in color than marble, and the crystals may be smaller than marble crystals.
bulletDolostone is made mostly of the mineral, dolomite.  It won't bubble in vinegar or acid, unless you scratch off some powder and put the vinegar right on the powder.
  
Limestone:  
bulletLimestone is usually more gray in color than marble, and the crystals are usually smaller than marble crystals.

Special things to look for

Some pieces of marble have tiny crystals of pyrite or "fool's gold."

   

Where white marble came from

We're not sure where our marble came from.  
There are active marble quarries in Vermont, 
New York, Georgia, Colorado, and in Canada 
as well.  The marble sold in our area could 
come from one or more of those places.

  

How white marble formed

White marble formed when very pure limestone 
rock was buried deeply and exposed to high heat 
and great pressure.

  

Other names for marble

We use the scientific name "marble" for this rock,
but it is also known by other names:

bulletWe've seen 50-pound bags of marble labeled "white marble chips."
  
bulletSome types of marble also have brand or trade names, like "Polar White" and "Colorado Yule Marble."

  

Here are some ways to classify marble (by grouping it with similar types of rocks):
  
bulletMarble is a metamorphic rock, because great heat and pressure changed it from another type of rock (limestone) into its current form (marble).
 
bulletMarble is sometimes classified as a meta-sedimentary rock, because the original rock (limestone) was a sedimentary rock.

   

Links to Web sites about white marble

The Vermont Marble Exhibit is an online museum about marble:
   < http://www.vermont-marble.com/home.htm >

This site has old photos and postcards of a marble 
quarries in Vermont:
   < http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~quarries/states/vt-proctor-photos.html >

This site has lots of photos of a marble quarry in Italy:
   < http://graphics.stanford.edu/~lucasp/pictures/italy/quarry/ >

Here are some links to companies that operate marble 
quarries.  We only included sites with photos of marble
quarries and marble products:
   < http://www.yulemarble.com/ >
   < http://www.renaissancestone.com/ptquary.html >
  

  


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Copyright 2001-2002 Eric D. Gyllenhaal                                          Search this Site
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This page was created on May 2, 2001, and it was last updated on July 27, 2002.