Limestone is a sedimentary rock primarily composed of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate) and belongs to the chemical and biochemical subclass. This rock often contains visible fossils, making it a window into the Earth’s past. Limestone exhibits a wide range of textures and colors, ranging from fine-grained to coarse-grained, and white, gray, or tan in hue. Its versatility and durability have made limestone a popular building material throughout human history.

Mineral Makeup

Limestone’s main mineral component is calcite, which forms from the remains of marine organisms such as corals, shells, and foraminifera. Calcite is a common mineral that forms various types of limestone, including fossiliferous limestone, coquina, and chalk. Other minerals, such as dolomite, aragonite, and siderite, can also be present in limestone, contributing to its diverse characteristics.


Limestone forms in warm, shallow marine environments where the accumulation of calcite-rich shells and other organic materials occurs. Over time, pressure and chemical processes cement these materials together, forming limestone. In some cases, limestone can also form through direct precipitation of calcium carbonate from water, creating chemical limestone deposits such as travertine.


Limestone is a widespread sedimentary rock, found in many parts of the world. Notable examples include the White Cliffs of Dover in England, the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, and the Burren in Ireland. Limestone is a common rock in karst landscapes, where the dissolving action of water on the soluble calcium carbonate creates caves, sinkholes, and other unique landforms.


Limestone is believed to possess metaphysical properties that promote spiritual growth, emotional healing, and purification. It is thought to encourage self-discovery and clarity of purpose, while also fostering a sense of inner peace and tranquility. Limestone is said to help individuals release emotional baggage and connect with higher levels of consciousness, promoting spiritual evolution.

ClassSedimentary (Chemical)
Mineral MakeupPrimarily calcite, with possible dolomite, aragonite, and siderite 
LusterVitreous to dull
Hardness (Mohs)3-4
ColorWhite, gray, or tan, with possible color variations
CleavagePerfect in three directions, forming rhombohedra
Specific Gravity2.6 to 2.8