Travertine is a compacted form of limestone that forms in rivers and hot springs. Water, especially river water, has a lot of minerals in it. Sometimes these minerals become deposited on the river bed. These wet minerals then dry out, and combine in compositions at the chemical level. When the minerals deposited are calcium and carbon, sometimes they form a stone that is known as travertine. The chemical composition of travertine is CaCO3 which means that there is one part calcium for every three.
Travertine is known for having bands of vibrant color running through it. This is caused by chemicals becoming caught in this structure of the stone as it forms, usually iron... These colors often appear as bands or lines in the face of the stone. The variations in the stone are numerous and it comes in a huge number of colors. The other common names for these stones are calcareous Tufa, and occasionally onyx. It can be solid or semi transparent. It is most often used in floors or counter tops due to its hard surface, ease of cleaning, and beautiful colors. It is also used in many home furnishings and out door applications. Certain chemicals are often used on the stone to seal it from gaining dirt deposits. These chemicals also tend to bring out the color in the stone. These chemicals are known as sealers or finishers. A slightly less effective way to treat travertine is to use olive oil to finish its surface.
This was historically a very important stone for ancient architecture. Travertine today can be quarried in turkey, china, the U.S. and europe.
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