Limestone

Tennessee State Rock

LimestoneTennesseecave.jpg

Limestone stalagtite at Diamond Cave in Tennessee

Portion of a large fallen limestone stalagtite at Diamond Cave in Tennessee; the rock was cut and polished (with federal permission) to show the growth of stalagtite: photo by red clover on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike). 

Limestone

Limestone, found throughout Tennessee, was declared the official state rock in 1979. Tennessee marble (the metamorphic version of limestone) is widely used in public and private buildings. Tennessee marble is a beautiful and decorative stone that graces exteriors, floors, counters, elevators and walls with the warm tones of this unique American "rock."

The Tennessee marble industry began nearly 200 years ago. Marble quarried in Tennessee was used as the primary building material for the state's capitol building. Tennessee marble has been used in major civic and government buildings from New York to California, including the National Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, and the National Cathedral.

Lime is also produced from limestone. Lime was used as a mortar at least 7,000 years ago in Turkey (ancient Egyptians also used lime to make plaster and mortar). Today lime is used mostly in steel manufacturing and power plants to remove impurities and reduce emissions. Lime is also used in mining, paper production, water and waste-water treatment, road construction, and building construction. 

Tennessee also recognizes a state stone; agate.

Tennessee

Images

Unpolished limestone; photo from Minerals Education Coalition: Limestone (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Unpolished limestone

Interior floor of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC is made of Tennessee pink marble; photo by David / dbking on Flickr (use permitted with attribution). 

Jefferson Memorial