Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks as the minerals calcite and aragonite (most notably as limestone, which is a type of sedimentary rock consisting mainly of calcite) and is the main component of pearls and the shells of marine organisms, snails, and eggs. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime and is created when calcium ions in hard water react with carbonate ions to create limescale. It is medicinally used as a calcium supplement or as an antacid, but excessive consumption can be hazardous.
The vast majority of calcium carbonate used in industry is extracted by mining or quarrying. Pure calcium carbonate (such as for food or pharmaceutical use), can be produced from a pure quarried source (usually marble).Alternatively, calcium carbonate is prepared from calcium oxide. Water is added to give calcium hydroxide then carbon dioxide is passed through this solution to precipitate the desired calcium carbonate, referred to in the industry as precipitated calcium carbonate
Eggshells, snail shells and most seashells are predominantly calcium carbonate and can be used as industrial sources of that chemical. Oyster shells have enjoyed recent recognition as a source of dietary calcium, but are also a practical industrial source. Dark green vegetables such as broccoli and kale contain dietarily significant amounts of calcium carbonate, however, they are not practical as an industrial source.
Carbonate is found frequently in geologic settings and constitutes an enormous carbon reservoir. Calcium carbonate occurs as aragonite, calcite and dolomite as significant constituents of the calcium cycle. The carbonate minerals form the rock types: limestone, chalk, marble, travertine, tufa, and others.