Student Papers in Geology

Cochise College                        

Geology Home Page                                  

Roger Weller, geology instructor

by Rafael Aponte
Physical Geology
Fall 2017  

         Calcite, The Mineral With The Most

            Calcite is in fact, a carbonate mineral and the most stable polymorph of
calcium carbonate as well as being in a hardness of 3 is nothing when rubbed
with something harder like a corundum or even a piece of apatite. In a few
places in the world, calcite can sometimes get mixed with peoples drinking
water causing ill-effects in the body. A problem that affects people in desert
areas like Arizona or California, and is an issue when it comes to housing and
health. There are ways to know what is Calcite as a mineral, what are the
effects when calcite is dissolved/mix in water to other materials, and how
calcite is formed in the sinks and what causes it
. Showing these might give
people an idea of the subject matter at hand to give a few people to make
good choices with drinking water in the desert communities.


            The very first question that people have about calcite is “what is it”, well
surprisingly this will be a rundown of Calcite as a mineral and its uses. Calcite is
a rock-forming mineral with a chemical formula of CaCO3 (Calcium + Carbon +
Trioxide), it is also an extremely common mineral found throughout the world
in sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. Some geologists consider it
to be a "ubiquitous mineral" - one that is found everywhere (King), Calcite is a
component inside such material as limestone and marble, extremely common
rocks that can be found anywhere in the world (even in a desert). Calcite is also
used in a wide range of architectural and agricultural jobs its used for (King), for
example, calcite can be used in a form of foundation for many buildings that
want to appear very pleasing to the eye. The construction industry is the primary
consumer of calcite in the form of limestone and marble. These rocks have been
used as dimension stones and in mortar for thousands of years. Limestone
blocks were the primary construction material used in many of the pyramids of
Egypt and Latin America. Today, limestone and marble are still an important
material that is used in prestige architecture such as government buildings and
if optional, hotels and casinos too (King).

 Calcite also has numerous uses as to neutralize any acids. For hundreds of years,
limestones and marbles have been crushed and spread on fields as an acid-
neutralizing soil treatment, they are also heated to produce lime that has a much
faster reaction rate in the soil (King). Calcite is used as an acid neutralizer in areas
where streams are plagued with acid mine drainage, crushed limestone is
dispensed into the streams to neutralize their waters.
High-grade optical calcite was
used in World War II for gun sights, specifically in bomb sights and anti-aircraft
weaponry (Lister).  There are many uses when it comes to this commonly found
mineral in many places in the world.


            Calcite is not the strongest mineral in the world if others know by now that
calcite is in the 3rd mark of the Mohs scale of hardness when exposed to factors of
natural and unnatural occurrences that might be a factor in the chemical change of
calcite. Water by far is the first the first thing a person might think of
dissolving something like salt or limestone (but it takes a long time to do so), one
example of a calcite with another chemical is
  one study of mixing Zn2 with calcite
and two other substances, in addition to mixtures of calcite with the two other
 was investigated at various loadings and mixture compositions using
atomic absorption spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive
X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, and Fourier transform infrared
techniques (Shahwan). Coming back to the subject of water, Calcite can be either
dissolved by groundwater or precipitated by groundwater, depending on several
factors like if the temperature of the water is high enough
 , the ph of a certain thing
in concentration, and even dissolved ion concentrations. Although calcite is
insoluble in cold water, acidity can cause dissolution of calcite and release of carbon
dioxide gas.
Calcite may be in a way not as strong to withstand acids, but still has its
uses for many things, even when it can't up against lemon juice (or something like


            When a person looks at a sink, what do they see, that white residue that
resides around from faucet to the sink, that’s the
aka lime (not the fruit
the mineral that’s made mostly out of minerals) that was built up when water is
used, and this is the reason this minor event starts. The starting point for knowing
this stuff is its name, limewater (also known as hard water when dried) is a clear
and colorless liquid substance, with a slight earthy smell and an alkaline bitter taste
of calcium hydroxide (Seidell and Nostrand).  This mixture is formed when
groundwater dissolves carbon dioxides aka CO2 and other material then mixes to
become limewater, calcite, surprisingly actually helps with water being manageable
by alkalizing the water which offsets the acidity (low pH) of water caused by
dissolved carbon dioxide (Calcite Neutralization). Carbon dioxide in small amounts
is present in all-natural waters. In reverse osmosis membranes remove the alkalinity
present in water but not the carbon dioxide, because it is a gas. This creates a low
pH in the product water meaning that the calcite controls the effects of CO2 (Calcite

Neutralization). Once again, calcite has more uses than its credited for  overall and
makes the water people use safely to consume and bath in.

            In conclusion, calcite is a common mineral that has many properties and
applications that are of great use for many people as well as being common among
other minerals that exist on this planet. Calcite is a great mineral when it comes to
making buildings and makes medicine for some forms of illness that they help to
ease it.
 Calcite can be dissolved in many forms of reactions and/or acids when it's
under the right conditions. The mineral is useful when it comes to regulating other
things in the water to balance thing out. Calcite is a material that is very abundant
of and has used in many ways for those who know what the properties are and how
they apply to
 peoples lives. 



Work Cited

A. Seidell, W. F., Nostrand, Linke, Van. ´Solubility of Inorganic and Metalorganic
Compounds - A Compilation of Solubility Data from the Periodical Literature´,
(Publisher), 1953

“Calcite Neutralization Filters Information.” Calcite/Neutralization,
King, Hobart. “Calcite.”,,
Lister, Priscilla. “Borrego's calcite mine trail holds desert wonders.”, 5 Dec. 2010,
Shahwan, T., et al. "AAS, XRPD, SEM/EDS, and FTIR Characterization of Zn2+ Retention by Calcite, C
alcite-Kaolinite, and Calcite-Clinoptilolite Minerals." Journal of colloid and interface science 286.2 (2005):
471-8. ProQuest. Web. 19 Nov. 2017.