Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcium carbonate with the occasional presence of magnesium. Because of its high calcium content, limestone is usually light in color, although many variations exist. Commercially, the term limestone includes dolomite, dolomitic limestone, oolitic limestone, and travertine, a porous calcitic rock that is commonly formed near hot springs.
Limestone Processing Operations
The first step of the process is a primary cutting or shaping of the material. This is typically accomplished for limestone using a circular blade saw, diamond wire saw, or a splitter. When operating a circular or diamond wire saw, a continuous stream of water over the saw is required in order to dissipate heat generated by the process; sufficiently-elevated temperature can cause major machine and material damage. Natural-faced products, such as veneer or flooring, may be completed with this step, while other products require a finishing application, secondary cutting, or both.
Limestone Quarrying Operations
Extraction (more commonly referred to as quarrying) consists of removing blocks or pieces of stone from an identified and unearthed geologic deposit. Differences in the particular quarrying techniques used often stems from variations in the physical properties of the deposit itself—such as density, fracturing/bedding planes, and depth—financial considerations, and the site owner’s preference. Nevertheless, the process is relatively simple: locate or create (minimal) breaks in the stone, remove the stone using heavy machinery, secure the stone on a vehicle for transport, and move the material to storage.
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