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Gypsum vs. Limestone: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 6, 2023
Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral often used in plaster and fertilizers, while limestone is a sedimentary rock mainly composed of calcium carbonate, often used in construction and agriculture.

Key Differences

Gypsum, a hydrated calcium sulfate mineral, is formed from evaporating sea water and often found in sedimentary beds. However, limestone, predominantly calcium carbonate, forms from the accumulation of shell, coral, algal, and fecal debris in marine environments.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023
Gypsum is softer, can be scratched with a fingernail, and is more soluble in water compared to limestone. Limestone is harder, typically requiring a steel blade to scratch, and less soluble, making it more durable in wet environments.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023
Gypsum is widely used in plaster, wallboard, and as a soil conditioner in agriculture. Limestone is used in construction for cement and aggregate, and in industries for steel production and pH control in soil.
Huma Saeed
Dec 06, 2023
Gypsum typically appears white or colorless, and can form clear, transparent crystals. Limestone varies from white to gray and can have visible fossil fragments, giving it a grainy texture.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023
The mining of gypsum can lead to land and water pollution if not managed properly. Limestone quarrying can result in landscape changes and habitat destruction, but both minerals can be mined sustainably with proper regulations.
Harlon Moss
Dec 06, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Composition

Hydrated calcium sulfate
Calcium carbonate
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Hardness

Soft, can be scratched easily
Harder, requires a steel blade
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Solubility in Water

More soluble
Less soluble
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Typical Uses

Plaster, wallboard, soil amendment
Construction, steel production, soil pH control
Harlon Moss
Dec 06, 2023

Environmental Impact

Potential water and land pollution
Landscape changes, habitat destruction
Janet White
Dec 06, 2023
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Gypsum and Limestone Definitions

Gypsum

Gypsum forms as an evaporite mineral.
The geologist found gypsum crystals in the dried lake bed.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Limestone

Limestone is often used in the production of cement.
The new highway bridge was built using cement from limestone.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 21, 2023

Gypsum

Gypsum is a soft, white to colorless mineral used in making plaster.
The artist molded a delicate sculpture from gypsum.
Huma Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Limestone

Limestone's durability makes it suitable for construction.
Historic buildings in the city were constructed from local limestone.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 21, 2023

Gypsum

Gypsum is known for its low hardness on the Mohs scale.
She easily scratched the gypsum sample with her fingernail.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Limestone

Limestone formations often contain fossils.
The limestone quarry revealed many ancient marine fossils.
Harlon Moss
Nov 21, 2023

Gypsum

In agriculture, gypsum is a soil conditioner.
He applied gypsum to improve the soil's drainage.
Harlon Moss
Nov 21, 2023

Limestone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock primarily made of calcium carbonate.
The cliffs along the coast were composed of rugged limestone.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Gypsum

Gypsum serves as a key ingredient in drywall.
The contractor used gypsum boards for the interior walls.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Limestone

Limestone can neutralize acidic soil.
To correct the pH, farmers spread crushed limestone on their fields.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Gypsum

A widespread colorless, white, or yellowish mineral, CaSO4·2H2O, used in the manufacture of plaster of Paris, various plaster products, and fertilizers.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Limestone

A common sedimentary rock consisting mostly of calcium carbonate, CaCO3, used as a building stone and in the manufacture of lime, carbon dioxide, and cement.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Gypsum

A mineral consisting of hydrated calcium sulphate. When calcinated, it forms plaster of Paris.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Limestone

An abundant rock of marine and fresh-water sediments; primarily composed of calcite (CaCO3); it occurs in a variety of forms, both crystalline and amorphous.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Gypsum

A mineral consisting of the hydrous sulphate of lime (calcium). When calcined, it forms plaster of Paris. Selenite is a transparent, crystalline variety; alabaster, a fine, white, massive variety.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Limestone

Pertaining to or made of limestone.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Gypsum

A common white or colorless mineral (hydrated calcium sulphate) used to make cements and plasters (especially plaster of Paris)
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Limestone

A rock consisting chiefly of calcium carbonate or carbonate of lime. It sometimes contains also magnesium carbonate, and is then called magnesian or dolomitic limestone. Crystalline limestone is called marble.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Limestone

A sedimentary rock consisting mainly of calcium that was deposited by the remains of marine animals
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

FAQs

Can gypsum dissolve in water?

Yes, gypsum is somewhat soluble in water.
Huma Saeed
Dec 06, 2023

What is gypsum made of?

Gypsum is composed of hydrated calcium sulfate.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Does gypsum have any agricultural uses?

Yes, gypsum is used as a soil conditioner to improve soil structure.
Janet White
Dec 06, 2023

Are there different types of gypsum?

Yes, there are several varieties, including selenite and alabaster.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

Is limestone stronger than gypsum?

Yes, limestone is harder and more durable than gypsum.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

What are common uses of limestone?

Limestone is used in construction, cement production, and to neutralize acidic soil.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

Can limestone be used in wallboard production like gypsum?

No, limestone is not typically used in wallboard; gypsum is preferred for its softer nature.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

Is gypsum biodegradable?

Being a mineral, gypsum does not biodegrade but can dissolve in water.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

Can limestone purify water?

Yes, limestone can help neutralize acids in water.
Harlon Moss
Dec 06, 2023

Can gypsum be recycled?

Yes, gypsum can be recycled, especially in wallboard manufacturing.
Harlon Moss
Dec 06, 2023

Does gypsum have any health benefits?

Gypsum is not known for health benefits and is mainly used in building materials and agriculture.
Janet White
Dec 06, 2023

Is gypsum found in different colors?

Generally white or colorless, gypsum can have impurities that add color.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

How is limestone formed?

Limestone forms from the accumulation of marine organism remains like shells and coral.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

What makes limestone suitable for construction?

Its durability and availability make it ideal for construction.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 06, 2023

How does limestone affect soil pH?

Limestone raises soil pH, making it less acidic.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Is gypsum renewable?

Gypsum is not renewable but is abundant in nature.
Janet White
Dec 06, 2023

Is gypsum mining environmentally harmful?

It can be if not managed sustainably, leading to land and water pollution.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

What is the environmental impact of limestone quarrying?

Limestone quarrying can lead to habitat destruction and landscape changes.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023

Does limestone have a role in steel production?

Yes, limestone is used as a flux in steel production.
Janet White
Dec 06, 2023

What is the most common form of limestone?

The most common form is fossiliferous limestone, often containing visible fossils.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 06, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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