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Calcareous sandstone in Seven Sisters Country Park, England Calcareous Soil Profile, Seven Sisters Country Park - - 1280181.jpg
Calcareous sandstone in Seven Sisters Country Park, England

Calcareous ( /kælˈkɛəriəs/ ) is an adjective meaning "mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate", in other words, containing lime or being chalky. The term is used in a wide variety of scientific disciplines.


In zoology

Calcareous is used as an adjectival term applied to anatomical structures which are made primarily of calcium carbonate, in animals such as gastropods, i.e.,  snails, specifically in relation to such structures as the operculum, the clausilium, and the love dart. The term also applies to the calcium carbonate tests of, often, more-or-less microscopic Foraminifera. Not all tests are calcareous; diatoms and radiolaria have siliceous tests.

The molluscs are calcareous organisms, as are the calcareous sponges (Calcarea), that have spicules which are made of calcium carbonate. [1]

In botany

Calcareous grassland is a form of grassland characteristic of soils containing much calcium carbonate from underlying chalk or limestone rock.

In medicine

The term is used in pathology, for example in calcareous conjunctivitis , and when referring to calcareous metastasis or calcareous deposits, which may both be removed surgically.

In geology

Calcareous mine in Perm Krai, Russia Calcareous open-cast mine in Gornozavodsk.jpg
Calcareous mine in Perm Krai, Russia

The term calcareous can be applied to a sediment, sedimentary rock, or soil type which is formed from, or contains a high proportion of, calcium carbonate in the form of calcite or aragonite.

Marine sediments

Calcareous sediments are usually deposited in shallow water near land, since the carbonate is precipitated by marine organisms that need land-derived nutrients. Generally speaking, the farther from land sediments fall, the less calcareous they are. Some areas can have interbedded calcareous sediments due to storms, or changes in ocean currents.

Calcareous ooze is a form of calcium carbonate derived from planktonic organisms that accumulates on the sea floor. This can only occur if the ocean is shallower than the carbonate compensation depth (CCD). Below this depth, calcium carbonate begins to dissolve in the ocean, and only non-calcareous sediments are stable, such as siliceous ooze or pelagic red clay.

Calcareous soils

Calcareous soils are relatively alkaline, in other words they have a high pH. This is because of the very weak acidity of carbonic acid. Note that this is not the only reason for a high soil pH. They are characterized by the presence of calcium carbonate in the parent material and may have a calcic horizon, a layer of secondary accumulation of carbonates (usually calcium or Mg) in excess of 15% calcium carbonate equivalent and at least 5% more carbonate than an underlying layer. [2]

List of calcareous rivers

Man made deposits

Calcareous deposits can form in water pipes. [3] An example of this is Sunday stone. [3]

In electrochemistry

Calcareous coatings, or calcareous deposits, are mixtures of calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide that are deposited on cathodically protected surfaces because of the increased pH adjacent to the surface.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Limestone</span> Sedimentary rocks made of calcium carbonate

Limestone is a type of carbonate sedimentary rock which is the main source of the material lime. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of CaCO3. Limestone forms when these minerals precipitate out of water containing dissolved calcium. This can take place through both biological and nonbiological processes, though biological processes, such as the accumulation of corals and shells in the sea, have likely been more important for the last 540 million years. Limestone often contains fossils which provide scientists with information on ancient environments and on the evolution of life.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sedimentary rock</span> Rock formed by the deposition and subsequent cementation of material

Sedimentary rocks are types of rock that are formed by the accumulation or deposition of mineral or organic particles at Earth's surface, followed by cementation. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause these particles to settle in place. The particles that form a sedimentary rock are called sediment, and may be composed of geological detritus (minerals) or biological detritus. The geological detritus originated from weathering and erosion of existing rocks, or from the solidification of molten lava blobs erupted by volcanoes. The geological detritus is transported to the place of deposition by water, wind, ice or mass movement, which are called agents of denudation. Biological detritus was formed by bodies and parts of dead aquatic organisms, as well as their fecal mass, suspended in water and slowly piling up on the floor of water bodies. Sedimentation may also occur as dissolved minerals precipitate from water solution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chert</span> Hard, fine-grained sedimentary rock composed of cryptocrystalline silica

Chert is a hard, fine-grained sedimentary rock composed of microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline quartz, the mineral form of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Chert is characteristically of biological origin, but may also occur inorganically as a chemical precipitate or a diagenetic replacement, as in petrified wood.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Downland</span> Area of open chalk hills

Downland, chalkland, chalk downs or just downs are areas of open chalk hills, such as the North Downs. This term is used to describe the characteristic landscape in southern England where chalk is exposed at the surface. The name "downs" is derived from the Old English word dun, meaning "hill".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Seabed</span> The bottom of the ocean

The seabed is the bottom of the ocean. All floors of the ocean are known as 'seabeds'.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Microfossil</span> Fossil that requires the use of a microscope to see it

A microfossil is a fossil that is generally between 0.001 mm and 1 mm in size, the visual study of which requires the use of light or electron microscopy. A fossil which can be studied with the naked eye or low-powered magnification, such as a hand lens, is referred to as a macrofossil.

A soil horizon is a layer parallel to the soil surface whose physical, chemical and biological characteristics differ from the layers above and beneath. Horizons are defined in many cases by obvious physical features, mainly colour and texture. These may be described both in absolute terms and in terms relative to the surrounding material, i.e. 'coarser' or 'sandier' than the horizons above and below.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caliche</span> Calcium carbonate based concretion of sediment

Caliche is a sedimentary rock, a hardened natural cement of calcium carbonate that binds other materials—such as gravel, sand, clay, and silt. It occurs worldwide, in aridisol and mollisol soil orders—generally in arid or semiarid regions, including in central and western Australia, in the Kalahari Desert, in the High Plains of the western United States, in the Sonoran Desert, Chihuahuan Desert and Mojave Desert of North America, and in eastern Saudi Arabia at Al-Hasa. Caliche is also known as calcrete or kankar. It belongs to the duricrusts. The term caliche is Spanish and is originally from the Latin calx, meaning lime.

Carbonate compensation depth (CCD) is the depth in the oceans below which the rate of supply of calcite lags behind the rate of solvation, such that no calcite is preserved. Shells of animals therefore dissolve and carbonate particles may not accumulate in the sediments on the sea floor below this depth. Aragonite compensation depth describes the same behaviour in reference to aragonitic carbonates. Aragonite is more soluble than calcite, so the aragonite compensation depth is generally shallower than the calcite compensation depth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mudrock</span> Class of fine grained siliciclastic sedimentary rocks

Mudrocks are a class of fine-grained siliciclastic sedimentary rocks. The varying types of mudrocks include siltstone, claystone, mudstone, slate, and shale. Most of the particles of which the stone is composed are less than 116 mm and are too small to study readily in the field. At first sight, the rock types appear quite similar; however, there are important differences in composition and nomenclature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pelagic sediment</span> Fine-grained sediment that accumulates on the floor of the open ocean

Pelagic sediment or pelagite is a fine-grained sediment that accumulates as the result of the settling of particles to the floor of the open ocean, far from land. These particles consist primarily of either the microscopic, calcareous or siliceous shells of phytoplankton or zooplankton; clay-size siliciclastic sediment; or some mixture of these. Trace amounts of meteoric dust and variable amounts of volcanic ash also occur within pelagic sediments. Based upon the composition of the ooze, there are three main types of pelagic sediments: siliceous oozes, calcareous oozes, and red clays.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Biogenic silica</span> Type of biogenic mineral

Biogenic silica (bSi), also referred to as opal, biogenic opal, or amorphous opaline silica, forms one of the most widespread biogenic minerals. For example, microscopic particles of silica called phytoliths can be found in grasses and other plants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Radiolarite</span> Type of sedimentary rock

Radiolarite is a siliceous, comparatively hard, fine-grained, chert-like, and homogeneous sedimentary rock that is composed predominantly of the microscopic remains of radiolarians. This term is also used for indurated radiolarian oozes and sometimes as a synonym of radiolarian earth. However, radiolarian earth is typically regarded by Earth scientists to be the unconsolidated equivalent of a radiolarite. A radiolarian chert is well-bedded, microcrystalline radiolarite that has a well-developed siliceous cement or groundmass.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marine sediment</span>

Marine sediment, or ocean sediment, or seafloor sediment, are deposits of insoluble particles that have accumulated on the seafloor. These particles have their origins in soil and rocks and have been transported from the land to the sea, mainly by rivers but also by dust carried by wind and by the flow of glaciers into the sea. Additional deposits come from marine organisms and chemical precipitation in seawater, as well as from underwater volcanoes and meteorite debris.

This glossary of geology is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to geology, its sub-disciplines, and related fields. For other terms related to the Earth sciences, see Glossary of geography terms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Siliceous ooze</span> Biogenic pelagic sediment located on the deep ocean floor

Siliceous ooze is a type of biogenic pelagic sediment located on the deep ocean floor. Siliceous oozes are the least common of the deep sea sediments, and make up approximately 15% of the ocean floor. Oozes are defined as sediments which contain at least 30% skeletal remains of pelagic microorganisms. Siliceous oozes are largely composed of the silica based skeletons of microscopic marine organisms such as diatoms and radiolarians. Other components of siliceous oozes near continental margins may include terrestrially derived silica particles and sponge spicules. Siliceous oozes are composed of skeletons made from opal silica SiO2·nH2O, as opposed to calcareous oozes, which are made from skeletons of calcium carbonate (CaCO3·nH2O) organisms (i.e. coccolithophores). Silica (Si) is a bioessential element and is efficiently recycled in the marine environment through the silica cycle. Distance from land masses, water depth and ocean fertility are all factors that affect the opal silica content in seawater and the presence of siliceous oozes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shallow water marine environment</span>

Shallow water marine environment refers to the area between the shore and deeper water, such as a reef wall or a shelf break. This environment is characterized by oceanic, geological and biological conditions, as described below. The water in this environment is shallow and clear, allowing the formation of different sedimentary structures, carbonate rocks, coral reefs, and allowing certain organisms to survive and become fossils.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Silica cycle</span> Biogeochemical cycle

The silica cycle is the biogeochemical cycle in which biogenic silica is transported between the Earth's systems. Silicon is considered a bioessential element and is one of the most abundant elements on Earth. The silica cycle has significant overlap with the carbon cycle and plays an important role in the sequestration of carbon through continental weathering, biogenic export and burial as oozes on geologic timescales.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Biogenous ooze</span> Category of sediment

Biogenous ooze is a type of marine sediment composed of a high percentage of organic compounds.


  1. Murphy, Richard C. (2002). Coral Reefs: Cities Under The Seas. The Darwin Press, Inc. ISBN   0-87850-138-X.
  2. "Diagnostic horizons, properties and materials". Lecture notes on the major soils of the world. FAO . Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  3. 1 2 Pearn, John H; Gardner-Thorpe, Christopher (11 July 2013). "11 July 2013". Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 375: 269–278. doi:10.1144/SP375.22. S2CID   140166525 . Retrieved 17 July 2018.