Tag Archives: limestone

Grotta Gigante in Trieste, Italy


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With a central cavern measuring 350 by 215 by 430 ft, the 10 million year old Grotta Gigante in northeastern Italy is the second largest cave in the world open to tourists. The 10 million year old cave was first explored in 1840 by a spelunker hoping to find a water source at its bottom, but, alas, the river that carved the cave had left it 3 million years prior! The elusive "disappearing" Timavo River enters the ground near the mountains and exits near the sea, its underground course through the carbonates of the Karst Plateau still largely a mystery. Read more

Military Geology of Tre Cime Nature Park


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I recently completed an internship in Trieste, Italy, the highlight of which was a day hike around the Tre Cime Nature Park in the Dolomites. On top of the incredible geology, the park features relics of the World War 1 front between Austria and Italy, such as the pictured trench and cave dug into the carbonate rocks. Besides tunnels, other war uses of the geology included the use of explosions to trigger fatal rock slides. I can't imagine fighting and hauling heavy equipment across (and up!) this rugged terrain. Read more

Chemistry lesson: calcium carbonate solubility


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The big equations:
CaCO3 ⇌ Ca2+ + CO32-
CaCO3 (s) + H2CO3 (aq) ⇌ Ca2+ (aq) + 2HCO3- (aq) Read more

Easy Science: How sinkholes form


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Sinkholes can form anywhere that the bedrock dissolves away beneath the soil, but classic sinkholes tend to form in limestone, a carbonate rock composed primarily of the minerals calcite (CaCO3), aragonite (CaCO3), and dolomite (CaMg[CO3]2). Worldwide, limestones cover about 15% of land surface. Twenty percent of the US is susceptible to sinkholes. Read more

Structure and formation of recent limestone (Miami & Key Largo) of Southern Florida


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This post provides a brief overview of the formation and characteristics of recent limestone deposits in Southern Florida, the Miami Limestone and Key Largo Limestone. Most of this material was collected as part of a presentation for EOS 404S: Geology of Tropical Marine Environments in Spring 2013, but has been expanded and re-formatted here. Read more