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Ooids on the surface of a limestone; Carmel Formation (Middle Jurassic) of southern Utah.
The scale bar is 2.0 mm.


Oolite (egg stone) is a sedimentary rock formed from ooids, spherical grains composed of concentric layers. The name derives from the Hellenic word òoion for egg. Strictly, oolites consist of ooids of diameter 0.25–2 mm: rocks composed of ooids larger than 2 mm are called pisolites. The term oolith can refer to oolite or individual ooids.

Composition

Ooids are most commonly composed of calcium carbonate (calcite or aragonite), but can be composed of phosphate, chert, dolomite or iron minerals, including hematite. Dolomitic and chert ooids are most likely the result of the replacement of the original texture in limestone. Oolitic hematite occurs at Red Mountainmarker near Birmingham, Alabamamarker along with oolitic limestone.

Occurrence

Some exemplar oolitic limestone, a common term for an oolite, was formed in Englandmarker during the Jurassic period, and forms the Cotswold Hillsmarker, the Isle of Portlandmarker with its famous Portland Stone, and part of the North Yorkshire Moorsmarker. A particular type, Bath Stone, gives the buildings of the World Heritage City of Bathmarker their distinctive appearance.

The islands of the Lower Keys in the Florida Keysmarker, as well as some barrier islands east of Miamimarker bordering Biscayne Baymarker, are mainly oolitic limestone, which was formed by deposition when shallow seas covered the area between periods of glaciation. The material consolidated and eroded during later exposure above the ocean surface.

This type of limestone is also found in Indianamarker in the United Statesmarker. The town of Oolitic, Indianamarker was founded for the trade of limestone and bears its name. Quarries in Bedfordmarker, Oolitic, and Bloomingtonmarker contributed the materials for such iconic US landmarks as the Empire State Buildingmarker and the Pentagonmarker. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monumentmarker in downtown Indianapolismarker is built almost solely of grey oolitic limestone.

The movie Breaking Away centers around the sons of quarry workers in Bloomington, the home of Indiana Universitymarker. Almost all of the buildings on the Indiana University campus are built with native oolitic limestone material.

Roggenstein is a term describing a specific type of oolite one in which the cementing matter is argillaceous.

See also



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