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Most common form of natural calcium carbonate (CaCO), a widely distributed mineral known for the beautiful development and great variety of its crystals. It occurs in stalagmites and stalactites and forms the structure of coral reefs. Calcite is the most important mineral in limestones and marbles used in the building, steel, chemical, and glass industries. Transparent crystals are called Iceland spar.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on calcite, visit Britannica.com.