The word "marble" derives from the Greek "μάρμαρον" (mármaron), from "μάρμαρος" (mármaros), "crystalline rock", "shining stone", perhaps from the verb "μαρμαίρω" (marmaírō), "to flash, sparkle, gleam". This stem is also the basis for the English word marmoreal, meaning "marble-like."
Whilst the English term resembles the French marbre, most other european languages (eg Spanish marmol, Italian marmo, Portuguese mármore, German and Swedish marmor, Polish marmur, Czech mramor and Russian мрáмор ) follow the original Greek.
Marble is a rock resulting from metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, (most commonly limestone or dolomite rock). Metamorphism causes variable recrystallization of the original carbonate mineral grains. The resulting marble rock is typically composed of an interlocking mosaic of carbonate crystals. Primary sedimentary textures and structures of the original carbonate rock (protolith) have typically been modified or destroyed.
Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of a very pure (silicate-poor) limestone or dolomite protolith. The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally high magnesium limestone or dolostone with silica impurities. These various impurities have been mobilized and recrystallized by the intense pressure and heat of the metamorphism.
Historically notable marble varieties and locations:
|Caldia||white||Loc. Rocchette Tuscany MS||Italy|
|White Marble||white||Island of Brač||Croatia|
|Black marble||black||Pennsylvania||United States|
|Carrara marble||white or blue-gray||Carrara||Italy|
|Parian marble||Fine-grained pure-white||Island of Paros||Greece|
|Penteli marble||Fine-grained semitranslucent pure-white||Penteliko Mountain, Athens||Greece|
|Rouge de Rance||Red||Rance||Belgium|
|Galala Marble||Beige||Suez, Egypt||Egypt|
|Macedonian Bianco Sivec||White||Prilep||Republic of Macedonia|
|Tennessee marble||Pale pink to cedar-red||Knox, Blount and Hawkins Counties, Tennessee||United States|
|Yule Marble||Uniform pure white||Marble, Colorado||United States|
|Murphy Marble||White||Pickens and Gilmer Counties, Georgia||United States|
|Numidian Marble||Yellow||e.g. Chemtou||Tunisia|
White marble was prized for its use in sculptures since classical times. This preference has to do with the softness and relative isotropy and homogeneity, and a relative resistance to shattering. Also, the low index of refraction of calcite allows light to penetrate several millimeters into the stone before being scattered out, resulting in the characteristic "waxy" look which gives "life" to marble sculptures of the human body.
Construction marble is a stone which is composed of calcite, dolomite or serpentine which is capable of taking a polish. More generally in construction, specifically the dimension stone trade, the term "marble" is used for any crystalline calcitic rock (and some non-calcitic rocks) useful as building stone. For example, Tennessee marble is really a dense granular fossiliferous gray to pink to maroon Ordovician limestone that geologists call the Holston Formation.
Colorless or light-colored marbles are a very pure source of calcium carbonate, which is used in a wide variety of industries. Finely ground marble or calcium carbonate powder is a component in paper, and in consumer products such as toothpaste, plastics, and paints. Ground calcium carbonate can be made from limestone, chalk, and marble; about three-quarters of the ground calcium carbonate worldwide is made from marble. Ground calcium carbonate is used as a coating pigment for paper because of its high brightness and as a paper filler because it strengthens the sheet and imparts high brightness. Ground calcium carbonate is used in consumer products such as a food additive, in toothpaste, and as an inert filler in pills. It is used in plastics because it imparts stiffness, impact strength, dimensional stability, and thermal conductivity. It is used in paints because it is a good filler and extender, has high brightness, and is weather resistant. However, the growth in demand for ground calcium carbonate in the last decade has mostly been for a coating pigment in paper.
According to the United States Geological Survey, U.S. dimension marble production in 2006 was 46,400 tons valued at $18.1 million, compared to 72,300 tons valued at $18.9 million in 2005. Crushed marble production (for aggregate and industrial uses) in 2006 was 11.8 million tons valued at $116 million, of which 6.5 million tons was finely ground calcium carbonate and the rest was construction aggregate. For comparison, 2005 crushed marble production was 7.76 million tons valued at $58.7 million, of which 4.8 million tons was finely ground calcium carbonate and the rest was construction aggregate. U.S. dimension marble demand is about 1.3 million tons. The DSAN World Demand for (finished) Marble Index has shown a growth of 12% annually for the 2000-2006 period, compared to 10.5% annually for the 2000–2005 period. The largest dimension marble application is tile.
Marble dust is combined with cement or synthetic resins to make reconstituted or cultured marble. The appearance of marble can be simulated with faux marbling, a painting technique that imitates the stone's color patterns.
As the favorite medium for Greek and Roman sculptors and architects (see classical sculpture), marble has become a cultural symbol of tradition and refined taste. Its extremely varied and colorful patterns make it a favorite decorative material, and it is often imitated in background patterns for computer displays, etc.
Places named after the stone include Marblehead, Ohio; Marble Arch, London; the Sea of Marmara; India's Marble Rocks; and the towns of Marble, Minnesota; Marble, Colorado; and Marble Hill, Manhattan, New York. The Elgin Marbles are marble sculptures from the Parthenon that are on display in the British Museum. They were brought to Britain by the Earl of Elgin.
- Cultured marble, marble powder with a binder.
- faux marbling, painting surfaces to look like marble.
- Marble sculpture
- Paper marbling
- Pietra dura, inlaying with marble and other stones.
- Scagliola, imitating marble with plasterwork.
- Verd antique - sometimes (erroneously) called "serpentine marble"
- ↑ μάρμαρον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- ↑ μάρμαρος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- ↑ Marble, Compact Oxford English Dictionary
- ↑ μαρμαίρω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- ↑ Marble Institute of America pp. 223 Glossary
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marble that may be added|
- Dimension Stone Statistics and Information - United States Geological Survey minerals information for dimension stone
- Learning to carve by Marc Levoy.
- USGS 2005 Minerals Yearbook: Stone, Crushed
- USGS 2005 Minerals Yearbook: Stone, Dimension
- USGS 2006 Minerals Yearbook: Stone, Crushed
- USGS 2006 Minerals Yearbook: Stone, Dimension
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