Marble is a type of rock that is formed through metamorphism of sedimentary rocks that are rich in carbonate ions. Travertine, on the other hand, is a sedimentary rock that is formed from the rapid deposition of calcium carbonate minerals mostly from hot springs and limestone caves. Similar to travertine, ecaussine is also made of calcium carbonate and is formed out of residues around caves, streams, or springs.
Leadings Exporters of Marble, Ecaussine, and Travertine
According to records by Product Complexity Index (PCI), marble, ecaussine, and travertine are ranked position 672 regarding most merchandized products.
Italy was the largest producer and exporter of travertine until the 1980s. It is used in Italy as a building material, and several historical buildings in Italy are built from Italian travertine, including parts of the St Peter's Basilica. Notable Italian travertine quarries are located in Tivoli and Guidonia Montecelio. Today, Italy accounts for $3.77 million or about 16% of global exports of marble, ecaussine, and travertine.
Travertine is also quarried in Turkey, Iran, Mexico, and Peru. Turkey is famously known for its travertine terraces in Pamukkale, Turkey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Turkey is known for its white Proconnesian marble from Marmara Island. Turkey has overtaken Italy as the top exporter of marble, ecaussine, and travertine, exporting about $8.72 million or 38% of the global exports. Other topmost producers and exporters of these rocks include Spain ($2.05 million), Egypt ($1.42 million), and Greece (1.31 million). Iran, Portugal, Pakistan, India, and the United States are also among the top producers of these rocks. The produced travertine, marble, and ecaussine from these countries are then transported and traded to other destinations.
China tops the list of destinations where the rocks are imported. China imports 59% of the slabs; this amounts to about $1.36 billion. India is the second highest importer of these slabs; it imports 10% of the total slabs traded. Other top importers of marble include Italy, Egypt, and Greece.
Extraction, Processing, and Uses
Marble, travertine, and ecaussine are almost produced in the same way as they are all calcareous stones and have the same functionalities. Usually, the mining of marble, travertine, and ecaussine entails cutting, which can take place along the strain or across the strain of the deposit. How the rocks are cut will determine how they will look. For marble, cutting is done with diamond cables and drills. Travertine and ecaussine also undergo cutting with the use of channeling machines that have various drills used to make holes until the rocks separate. Water-jet cutting machines, chain, and wire saws can also be used in the extraction phase of these rocks. The extracted marble, travertine, and ecaussine are then cut into individual blocks or slabs. The blocks then go through additional processing depending on their intended functionality. For instance, if the rock is for tiling, the marble is cut further into quarters and refined for smoothness.
The functions of marble, travertine, and ecaussine are also quite similar. Marble is used for making sculptures and buildings. It is used for sculptures because of its smoothness and ease to sculpt; it is also a tough material, as it does not crush easily. Marble is also used for building because of its beauty and resilience. It was documented by Guinness Book of Records in 2013 that Ashgabat City has a huge number of marble buildings. Similarly, travertine and ecaussine are used in building and construction. They are used for floors, staircase, pool decks, driveways, and patios.