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Ironstone

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Ironstone

Ironstone (sandstone with iron oxides) from the Mississippian Breathitt Formation, Mile Marker 166, I-64, Kentucky

Ironstone is a sedimentary rock, either deposited directly as a ferruginous sediment or created by chemical replacement, that contains a substantial proportion of an iron compound from which iron either can be or once was smelted commercially. This term is customarily restricted to hard coarsely banded, nonbanded, and noncherty sedimentary rocks of post-Precambrian age. The Precambrian deposits, which have a different origin, are generally known as banded iron formations. The iron minerals comprising ironstones can consist either of oxides, i.e. limonite, hematite, and magnetite; carbonates, i.e. siderite; silicates, i.e. chamosite; or some combination of these minerals.[1][2]

Contents

  • Description 1
  • Occurrence 2
  • Uses 3
    • Ironstone as a source of iron 3.1
    • Ceramics 3.2
    • In construction 3.3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Description

Freshly cleaved ironstone is usually grey. The brown external appearance is due to oxidation of its surface. Ironstone, being a sedimentary rock is not always homogeneous, and can be found in a red and black banded form called tiger iron, sometimes used for jewelry purposes.

Sometimes ironstone hosts concretions or opal gems.

Occurrence

Ironstone occurs in a variety of forms. The various forms of ironstone include siderite nodules; deeply weathered saprolite, i.e. (laterite); and ooidal ironstone .

Uses

Ironstone as a source of iron

Ironstone, although widespread, is a limited source of iron (Fe). Historically, most of British iron originated from ironstone, but it is now rarely used for this purpose because it is far too limited in quantity to be an economic source of iron ore.

Ceramics

Ironstone's oxide impurities render it useless as a component in ceramics: the "ironstone china" of Staffordshire and American manufacture, a fine white high-fired vitreous semi-porcelain, commonly used for heavy-duty dinner services in the 19th century,[3] depends on the whiteness of its body. Its "iron" quality is in its resistance to chipping, not in any ingredient in its manufacture.

In construction

The stone can also be used as a building material. Examples include the parish churches at Kirby Bellars and South Croxton in Leicestershire.

See also

References

  1. ^ U.S. Bureau of Mines Staff (1996) Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, & Related Terms. Report SP-96-1, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Bureau of Mines, Washington, D.C.
  2. ^ Neuendorf, K.K.E., J.P. Mehl, Jr., and J.A. Jackson, J.A., eds. (2005) Glossary of Geology (5th ed.). Alexandria, Virginia, American Geological Institute. 779 pp. ISBN 0-922152-76-4
  3. ^ G. Bernard Hughes, English and Scottish Earthenware, Abbey Library


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