Marl
Overview
 
Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime,...

 or lime-rich mud or mudstone
Mudstone
Mudstone is a fine grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Grain size is up to 0.0625 mm with individual grains too small to be distinguished without a microscope. With increased pressure over time the platey clay minerals may become aligned, with the...

 which contains variable amounts of clays
Clay minerals
Clay minerals are hydrous aluminium phyllosilicates, sometimes with variable amounts of iron, magnesium, alkali metals, alkaline earths, and other cations. Clays have structures similar to the micas and therefore form flat hexagonal sheets. Clay minerals are common weathering products and low...

 and aragonite
Aragonite
Aragonite is a carbonate mineral, one of the two common, naturally occurring, crystal forms of calcium carbonate, CaCO3...

. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay and calcium carbonate, formed under freshwater conditions; specifically an earthy substance containing 35-65% clay and 65-35% carbonate.
Encyclopedia
Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime,...

 or lime-rich mud or mudstone
Mudstone
Mudstone is a fine grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Grain size is up to 0.0625 mm with individual grains too small to be distinguished without a microscope. With increased pressure over time the platey clay minerals may become aligned, with the...

 which contains variable amounts of clays
Clay minerals
Clay minerals are hydrous aluminium phyllosilicates, sometimes with variable amounts of iron, magnesium, alkali metals, alkaline earths, and other cations. Clays have structures similar to the micas and therefore form flat hexagonal sheets. Clay minerals are common weathering products and low...

 and aragonite
Aragonite
Aragonite is a carbonate mineral, one of the two common, naturally occurring, crystal forms of calcium carbonate, CaCO3...

. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay and calcium carbonate, formed under freshwater conditions; specifically an earthy substance containing 35-65% clay and 65-35% carbonate. It also describes a habit of coralline red alga. The term is today often used to describe indurated marine deposits and lacustrine
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

 (lake) sediment
Sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

s which more accurately should be named marlstone. Marlstone is an indurated rock of about the same composition as marl, more correctly called an earthy or impure argillaceous
Argillaceous minerals
Argillaceous minerals may appear silvery upon optical reflection and are minerals containing substantial amounts of clay-like components . Argillaceous components are fine-grained aluminosilicates, and more particularly clay minerals such as kaolinite, montmorillonite-smectite, illite, and...

 limestone. It has a blocky subconchoidal fracture, and is less fissile than shale. The term marl is widely used in English-language geology, while the terms Mergel and Seekreide (German for "lake chalk") are used in European references.

The lower stratigraphic
Stratigraphy
Stratigraphy, a branch of geology, studies rock layers and layering . It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks....

 units of the chalk
Chalk
Chalk is a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite plates shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores....

 cliffs of Dover
White cliffs of Dover
The White Cliffs of Dover are cliffs which form part of the British coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France. The cliffs are part of the North Downs formation. The cliff face, which reaches up to , owes its striking façade to its composition of chalk accentuated by streaks of black flint...

 consist of a sequence of glauconitic
Glauconite
Glauconite is an iron potassium phyllosilicate mineral of characteristic green color with very low weathering resistance and very friable.It crystallizes with a monoclinic geometry...

 marls followed by rhythmically-banded limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 and marl layers. Upper Cretaceous
Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

 cyclic sequences in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and marl–opal
Opal
Opal is an amorphous form of silica related to quartz, a mineraloid form, not a mineral. 3% to 21% of the total weight is water, but the content is usually between 6% to 10%. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock, being most...

-rich Tortonian
Tortonian
The Tortonian is in the geologic timescale an age or stage of the late Miocene that spans the time between 11.608 ± 0.005 Ma and 7.246 ± 0.005 Ma . It follows the Serravallian and is followed by the Messinian....

-Messinian
Messinian
The Messinian is in the geologic timescale the last age or uppermost stage of the Miocene. It spans the time between 7.246 ± 0.005 Ma and 5.332 ± 0.005 Ma...

 strata in the Sorbas basin
Sorbas basin
The Sorbas basin is a sedimentary basin around the town of Sorbas in south-east Spain. It is believed to have been formed by extension, between two fault-bounded blocks which rotated anti-clockwise to take up the compression resulting from Europe's collision with Africa...

 related to multiple sea drawdown have been correlated with Milankovitch orbital forcing.

Marl as lacustrine sediment is common in post-glacial lake
Glacial lake
A glacial lake is a lake with origins in a melted glacier. Near the end of the last glacial period, roughly 10,000 years ago, glaciers began to retreat. A retreating glacier often left behind large deposits of ice in hollows between drumlins or hills. As the ice age ended, these melted to create...

 bed sediments, often found underlying peat bogs. It has been utilized as a soil conditioner and acid soil neutralizing agent.

See also

  • Agricultural lime
    Agricultural lime
    Agricultural lime, also called aglime, agricultural limestone, garden lime or liming, is a soil additive made from pulverized limestone or chalk. The primary active component is calcium carbonate...

  • Keuper marl
    Keuper marl
    Keuper marl is the former name for a layer of mudstones and siltstones from the late Triassic period . Typically red, or occasionally...

  • Loam
    Loam
    Loam is soil composed of sand, silt, and clay in relatively even concentration . Loam soils generally contain more nutrients and humus than sandy soils, have better infiltration and drainage than silty soils, and are easier to till than clay soils...

    - which is sand and clay rather than lime and clay.
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