Monthly Archives: August 2018

Geo-pic of the week: Chalk

 

Annona Fm (2)

Like the White Cliffs of Dover, England, the “White Cliffs of Arkansas” (pictured above) are composed of chalk.  Chalk is a marine sedimentary rock that forms of calcite-rich mud that accumulates in semi-deep marine environments.  The mud is composed of the accumulated skeletal remains of algal microorganisms called coccolithophores.  These algae grow and shed skeletal parts called coccoliths which they arrange around them, in life, in a structure called a coccosphere.  Below is a scanning electron microscopic image of some coccospheres (borrowed from news.algaeworld.org).

coccolithophores

Chalk in Arkansas is found in the Annona Formation, which formed in the late Cretaceous Period, and crops out in southwest Arkansas as well as parts of Texas.  In addition to being mined to make blackboard chalk, this resource is also used in brick, and cement manufacture. 

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