Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs

2011 Edition
| Editors: David Hopley

Classification of Carbonates

  • Christopher G. St. C. Kendall
  • Peter Flood
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2639-2_269

Definition and introduction

Rocks are classified in order to communicate information about them. Limestone classifications are often intended to convey information about the composition and so, the depositional setting. All classifications of limestones tend to be rather arbitrary and they frequently overlap or do not fit one’s particular needs. Since binocular microscopes or hand lenses are the tools that are commonly available to the professional or academic geologist, a practical classification should be based on descriptions that use these tools. When these instruments are used, it is usually possible to identify the individual grains forming the rock. Thus, most classifications require that the most significant sedimentary particle in the rock be described. For instance, if a rock is composed of ooids, it is termed an oolitic limestone. If the limestone also contains a minor element such as skeletal fragments, then it is called a skeletal-oolitic limestone.

Two of the most widely...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher G. St. C. Kendall
    • 1
  • Peter Flood
    • 2
  1. 1.Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geological SciencesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Emeritus Professor Earth SciencesUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia