All About Calcite
Calcite is a type of rock-forming mineral, which is used for many, many different things! It is used to make construction materials in the building industry, in farming as a soil treatment, as a colour or pigment and even for medicine, although you can't eat it.
Along with the other minerals aragonite and dolomite, calcite makes up around 15% of the Earth's sedimentary rocks and 2% of the Earth's crust! Did you know the ground under your feet is made of minerals?
In May 2021, a large 'seam' (a piece sandwiched between two other bits of rock) of calcite was discovered in the Great Masson Cavern in the Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath, the Peak District. The Great Masson Cavern used to be a mine, where the Victorian's dug for lead, but is also a partially natural cavern. Check out our video of the new discovery below.
Calcite is also a part of limestone and can also be found in metamorphic rocks (ones that started out as a different rock) and igneous rocks (hardened magma or lava). The mineral can be found in almost any colour: transparent, white, red, pink, green, blue and even purple. It can be very pretty and is a popular ornament.
There are quite a few mines and quarries in Derbyshire and the Peak District, particularly in Matlock, Matlock Bath, Wirksworth and Cromford; and minerals from these areas have been displayed in museums all over the world!
Derbyshire is also famous for its 'Blue John' mineral, which is a variety of fluorite. The lovely blue colour means it's often made into jewellery, ornaments, bowls and vases.
Are you a mineral expert? Take our CALCITE QUIZ here to find out!
Alice is Editor of Raring2go! magazine for Burton and Ashby in the Midlands. She is a former journalist and freelance writer and has two young daughters.