How could you tell the difference between a limestone and a sandstone?

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Don W. Share
Mar 14, 2015

Limestone is typically composed of calcium carbonate; either aragonite or calcite. Some limestones are formed by direct precipitation of calcium carbonate, while others are made up of the skeletal remains (fossils) of invertebrates.

The term sandstone is actually a textural term applied to granular sedimentary rocks with grains ranging from 2 mm to 0.0625 mm in diameter. Most often the term is used to rocks consisting of sand size grains of quartz (quartz arenite); however, it can be applied to sands of other consistencies, such as grains predominantly of feldspar (arkose), or lithic fragments (litharenites). Sandstones consisting of sand-size grains of shell material are called calcarenites (or grainstones by some classification schemes). So a type of limestone can in fact be a type of sandstone.

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To tell the difference between a quartz arenite sandstone and limestone is to tet the hardness of the grains. Quartz is hard (7 on Moh's scale of hardness) meaning if you take the rock and rub it on a nail or file it will scratch the metal. Conversely, limestone which consists primarily of calcite (3 on Moh's scale of hardness) will be scratched by the nail. You can also use hydrochloric acid to test the rock. Limestones (calcite) will readily react (fizz) when the acid is applied. Quartz will not react. Word of caution, sandstones can be cemented with calcite cement which will react to the acid.

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Jun 5, 2017

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Sandstone is made up of orange sand particles compressed together. It contains sand particles. It is brown or orange in color.

Limestone is made up of little fragments of shells from animals such as corals. The grains are made of calcium carbonate. It is white in color.

http://katrinat2unit2rocks.weebly.com/sedimentary-rock.html

https://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/sedimentary-rocks/deck/14045597

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