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Marble

Marble is a metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone, composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). It is extensively used for sculpture, as a building material, and in many other applications.
Marble is cut into blocks, slabs or tile in various thickness and sizes. Marble flooring is very sensitive to acids and alkalis and can be stained if spills are not wiped up immediately. If marble flooring is installed in an area where staining liquids are liable to cause problems, then the flooring should be sealed and finish applied.

There are several types of marbles, including calcites (from calciferous limestones), dolomites (from dolomitic limestone), serpentines (typically green marbles) and travertines (sedimentary limestone). Each of these is similar in their composition, that being predominantly calcium carbonate, and their capability to take a polish. The stone that is quarried west of Belen in central New Mexico is a travertine marble.

Many years ago there was a cataclysmic shift in the earth's crust and the Rio Grande valley appeared. The Sandia Mountains were pushed up on the east side bringing granite to the surface and leaving limestone on the top or backside of the mountain. This limestone was once the floor of a vast ocean that covered the entire southwest U.S. if you drive along south 14 you can see the layers of limestone along the roadside. This same limestone is used to make cement at the plant in Tijeras, New Mexico. When the valley was formed, there were openings made in the earth's crust which allowed volcanoes to form and many hot springs to appear. These hot springs were present west of Belen, and as they came to the surface, the water passed through the limestone beds.

The calcium carbonate in the limestone went into suspension in the water and once it got to the surface the water evaporated and it become travertine.

One characteristic of all travertines is the presence of small voids that were caused by air bubbles in the hot water. At times when the springs went cold, onyx was formed. It is not uncommon to find bands of onyx among travertine beds.

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