What Is Marble? A Guide to the History, Properties and Uses of Marble

what is marble

What Is Marble? A Guide to the History, Properties and Uses of Marble

Did you know that there are more than 4000 types of min­er­als? Some exam­ples include cal­cite, quartz, pyrite, and dolomite. As it is, many of these are found in meta­mor­phic rocks. Put sim­ply, they’re rocks that have under­gone intense pres­sure and heat.
Take quartzite, for instance—it’s com­posed almost entire­ly of sil­i­ca, one of the most abun­dant min­er­als in the Earth­’s crust. Mar­ble is anoth­er exam­ple. What is mar­ble? It’s a lux­u­ri­ous stone that’s used for a num­ber of things from counter tops to mon­u­ments. Want to learn more about its his­to­ry and prop­er­ties? If so, be sure to read the rest of the page!

What Is Marble?

Mar­ble is a type of meta­mor­phic rock that forms under the Earth when lime­stone is exposed to high heat and pres­sure. While it’s main­ly com­posed of cal­cite, it also con­tains oth­er min­er­als such as quartz, micas, graphite, and pyrite. In its pure form, the rock is white with a sug­ary appear­ance. Depend­ing on the min­er­als present, how­ev­er, it can also be pink, gray, green, or brown.

How Is It Formed?

Mar­ble starts out as limestone—a type of rock that’s made of hard­ened fos­sils. Over time, it’s exposed to heat and pres­sure, which trans­forms it into mar­ble. More often than not, this occurs at con­ver­gent plate bound­aries. Put it sim­ply, it’s where the Earth­’s plates are pushed togeth­er. Some mar­ble also forms when hot mag­ma heats up lime­stone.

History of Marble in Architecture

Mar­ble stone has been used in archi­tec­ture for thou­sands of years. In fact, it was used exten­sive­ly by ancient Roman and Greek archi­tects. Cho­sen for its beau­ty, the rock was used for a vari­ety of struc­tures from pil­lars to tem­ples. They would pull it from the Earth with the help of levers, winch­es, wood­en beams, and pul­leys. Take the Roman Colos­se­um, for example—it used to be filled with mar­ble dec­o­ra­tions, though most have dis­ap­peared over the years.

Physical Properties of Marble

Mar­ble is rel­a­tive­ly soft with a hard­ness of three on the Mohs hard­ness scale. As a result, it can be scratched eas­i­ly with a blade— this is one of the rea­sons why it’s ide­al for sculp­tures. Com­posed of cal­ci­um car­bon­ate, it’s also capa­ble of neu­tral­iz­ing acids. In fact, crushed mar­ble is often used to neu­tral­ize acid in lakes and streams.

Why Is Marble So Popular?

Mar­ble is high­ly ele­gant. Not only will it add val­ue to your home, but it’ll add aes­thet­ic appeal as well. While it might not be the cheap­est, most would argue that it’s worth the invest­ment. On top of that, it’s durable. Giv­en the prop­er care, it can eas­i­ly last for many decades—perhaps even longer.

Familiarizing Yourself With Marble

Hope­ful­ly, that answers the ques­tion of “what is mar­ble?”. Giv­en all of its advan­tages, it’s not sur­pris­ing to know that it’s so pop­u­lar! Look­ing for pro­fes­sion­al mar­ble clean­ing ser­vices? Feel free to con­tact us for a free quote!