Limestone vs Granite: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

Geography might have subtly introduced you to different types of stones in your early days in school.

However, if you have never been in a geography class, I am unsure if you can tell the difference between limestone vs granite.

The two might be far from each other but near each other for an amateur who would say they are all kinds of stones at the end of the day. 

The Difference Between Limestone vs Granite

The components and appearance of Limestone and Granite give a striking distinction of what the two stones contain.

  1. Formation and Type

Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed through sedimentation.

Through different organic particles, limestone is formed containing 50% calcium carbonate formed on the earth’s surface.

It also has aragonite, magnesium (mineral dolomite), and calcite.

Other limestone types include tufa, chalk, lithographic limestone, travertine, coquina, oolite limestone, and fossiliferous limestone.   

On the other hand, granite is formed below the earth’s surface when magma from a volcanic eruption cools, with the process taking long compared to other igneous rocks.

It is quartz-based (Contains Silicon dioxide) consisting of plagioclase and fieldspar.

Different granite types include anorogenic Granite, igneous protolith granite, hybrid Granite, and sedimentary protolith granite.

In addition, there is granodiorite, mantle granite, and alkali feldspar granite.    

     2.  Physical and Mineral Components 

Limestone weighs around 2.3-2.7 grams per centimeter cubed with a varying compressive strength ranging from 15MPa to 100MPa.

Limestone contains mineral components quartz, chert, clay, silt, calcite, and dolomite.   

Granite weighs approximately 2.65 to 2.76 grams per centimeter, cubed a little less dense than limestone.

Its compressive strength, however, is higher than limestones as it is estimated to be 200MPa.

The mineral components in granite are micas, biotite, quartz, muscovite, amphibole, pyroxene, feldspar, and horn blade.   

    3. Functionality

Limestone is durable and easy to cut; hence it is used in crafting monuments and buildings.

The extraction of iron from its ore is used in manufacturing cement.

Therefore, most roads are constructed using limestone.

Also, they are used in pharmaceutical industries to manufacture medical supplies as well as cosmetics.

Granite also has been used in building construction and monument sculpturing.

It is hard and granular.

They can be shaped in different designs on slabs, floor tiles, countertops, and jewelry.

It is used both in interior and exterior functions. In the interior, it brings prestige, class, and elegance. 

    4.  Appearance 

The iron oxide in limestone makes it appear yellowish or brownish, while the carbon appears grey, black, or blue.

However, the actual color of the limestone is white, but different component particles make it to be perceived with other colors.

Therefore, limestone most times is rough and banded.

The color of granite depends on the chemical composition it has.

Thus, it can have varying grey, white or black, but mostly it is pink in color. It appears to be pebbled and veined in most cases. 

    5. Hardness and Resistance 

The hardness of limestone averagely ranges from three to four while that of granite from six to seven.

The heat capacity of limestone is 0.91 KJ/Kg K, whereas that of graphite is 0.79 KJ/Kg K.

Therefore, with such properties and other compounds in each stone, limestone is more inclined to be pressure-resistant while granite is heat resistant.  

Similarities of Limestone and Granite 

Limestone and graphite are distinct in many ways, from the appearance to the components.

However, both are used instead of the other or simultaneously, depending on the preference.

Graphite, as noted before, it is primarily used in creating a sustainable aesthetic on buildings.

The two share a similar experience in the use of interior and exterior design in architecture.

They are both used in interior decorations and decorative aggregates. 

Both are used for curbing and as building and facing stones despite granite used more as a dimension stone compared to limestone, which produces ceramics, glasses, cement, mortar, and source of calcium.

Besides, limestone and granite has been instrumental in making artifacts, monuments, and small figurines.

People also often compare limestone and marble as potential building materials.

Also, there are similar chemical compounds in granite and limestone.

Both contain iron (III) Oxide, Aluminium Oxide, Magnesium Oxide, Iron (II) Oxide, and Calcium Oxide.

The level of the chemical compounds varies in intensity in both stones.

Besides, they both experience biological weathering with high chemical erosion latency despite both being less porous.   

The locations where Limestone and Granite are found

Limestone and granite are found all over the continent.

However, they are found in different capacities in different places in the world.

For instance, granite can be located in Europe but specific countries more pre-dominantly compared to limestone presence in Europe. 

The table below indicates the limestone and granite spread across continents in different countries:

ContinentLimestoneGranite
AfricaKenya, Togo, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi, Sudan, Chad, Zambia, TanzaniaSouth Africa, Madagascar, Nigeria, Egypt, Angola, Namibia
AsiaIndia, Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, MalaysiaSaudi Arabia, Taiwan, Turkey, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Iran, China, India, Thailand
AustraliaTonga, New Zealand, Adelaide, Yorke Peninsula, Queensland, VictoriaNot found
North AmericaUSAUSA, Canada
South AmericaColombiaNot found
EuropeUnited KingdomGermany, Austria, Switzerland, Sardinia, Finland, The Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Italy

Limestone vs. granite is one discussion that can be concluded with each feature being different from the texture to the colors.

They share many similarities but have distinct features that define the two differently.

Also, people have perceived them differently, especially in the construction industry.

Granite is associated chiefly with interior designs making construction look classy and elegant, while limestone is associated with cement used in construction, mainly the exterior design.

Therefore, the distribution of limestone vs. granite is evenly done across the globe.

China, India, and United States are the world’s most significant distributors of limestone, whereas China still leads in the production and distribution of granite.

It is imperative to note that production differs from the deposits of the two stones, as shown in the table above.

Despite the differences in limestone and granite, granite’s ability to accept brilliant polish with its abrasion resistance and natural color combination makes it a unique stone worth desiring.