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Carbonate rocks are a class of
sedimentary rock Sedimentary rocks are types of rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compoun ...

sedimentary rock
s composed primarily of
carbonate mineral Carbonate minerals are those mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of ...
s. The two major types are
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its nat ...

limestone
, which is composed of
calcite Calcite is a and the most stable of (CaCO3). The , based on , defines value 3 as "calcite". Other polymorphs of calcium carbonate are the minerals and . Aragonite will change to calcite over timescales of days or less at temperatures exceed ...

calcite
or
aragonite Aragonite is a , one of the three most common naturally occurring of , (the other forms being the s and ). It is formed by biological and physical processes, including precipitation from marine and freshwater environments. The of aragonite d ...

aragonite
(different crystal forms of CaCO3), and
dolomite rock Silurian.html"_;"title="Trilobite_fossil_preserved_as_an_internal_cast_in_Silurian">Trilobite_fossil_preserved_as_an_internal_cast_in_Silurian_dolomite_from_southwestern_Ohio,_USA Dolomite_(also_known_as_dolomite_rock,_dolostone_or_dolomitic_ro ...
(also known as dolostone), which is composed of mineral
dolomiteDolomite may refer to: *Dolomite (mineral) Dolomite () is an anhydrous A substance is anhydrous if it contains no water. Many processes in chemistry can be impeded by the presence of water; therefore, it is important that water-free reagents and ...
(CaMg(CO3)2). Calcite can be either dissolved by
groundwater Groundwater is the water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living ...

groundwater
or
precipitated Precipitation is the process of conversion of a chemical substance into a solid from a solution by converting the substance into an insoluble form or a Supersaturated solution, super-saturated solution. When the reaction occurs in a liquid solu ...
by groundwater, depending on several factors including the water temperature,
pH
pH
, and dissolved
ion An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ...
concentrations. Calcite exhibits an unusual characteristic called retrograde solubility in which it becomes less soluble in water as the temperature increases. When conditions are right for precipitation, calcite forms mineral coatings that cement the existing rock grains together or it can fill fractures.
Karst topography Karst is a topography formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are differe ...
and
cave A cave or cavern is a natural void in the ground Ground may refer to: * Soil, a mixture of clay, sand and organic matter present on the surface of the Earth * Ground (electricity), the reference point in an electrical circuit from which voltag ...

cave
s develop in carbonate rocks because of their
solubility In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, compounds composed of atom ...

solubility
in dilute
acid An acid is a or capable of donating a (hydrogen ion H+) (a ), or, alternatively, capable of forming a with an (a ). The first category of acids are the proton donors, or s. In the special case of , proton donors form the H3O+ and are ...
ic groundwater. Cooling groundwater or mixing of different groundwaters will also create conditions suitable for
cave A cave or cavern is a natural void in the ground Ground may refer to: * Soil, a mixture of clay, sand and organic matter present on the surface of the Earth * Ground (electricity), the reference point in an electrical circuit from which voltag ...

cave
formation.
Marble Marble is a metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism upright=1.35, Schematic representation of ...

Marble
is the
metamorphic Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the mineral ...

metamorphic
carbonate rock. Rare
igneous Igneous rock (derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
carbonate rocks exist as
intrusive Intrusive may refer to: * Intrusiveness, a typically unwelcome behavior, interrupting and disturbing to others * Intrusive rock; intrusion of molten magma leaving behind igneous rock * Saltwater intrusion, the movement of saline water into freshwa ...
carbonatite Carbonatite lava at Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, Tanzania Carbonatite () is a type of Intrusive rock, intrusive or extrusive igneous Rock (geology), rock defined by mineralogic composition consisting of greater than 50% carbonate minerals. Carbon ...

carbonatite
s and even rarer
volcanic A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet ar ...

volcanic
carbonate
lava Lava is magma once it has been expelled from the interior of a terrestrial planet (such as Earth) or a Natural satellite, moon onto its surface. Lava may be erupted at a volcano or through a Fissure vent, fracture in the Crust (geology), crust, ...

lava
.


See also

*
Dunham classification The Dunham classification system for carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in it ...
*
Folk classification The Folk classification is a technical descriptive classification of sedimentary rocks devised by Robert L. Folk, an influential sedimentary petrologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas. Folk's sandstone (clastic) classification F ...
*
Sinkhole A sinkhole is a depression or hole in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface layer. The term is sometimes used to refer to doline, enclosed depressions that are locally also known as vrtače and shakeholes, and to openings ...

Sinkhole
Sedimentary rocks Carbonate minerals {{Petrology-stub