Chalk is a soft, white, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is an ionic salt called calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms below reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual growth of minute calcite shells (coccoliths) shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores. Flint (a type of chert) is completely common as bands parallel to the bedding or as nodules embedded in chalk. It is probably derived from sponge spicules or new siliceous organisms as water is expelled upwards during compaction. Flint is often deposited in tab to larger fossils such as Echinoidea which may be silicified (i.e. replaced molecule by molecule by flint).
Chalk, as seen in Cretaceous deposits of Western Europe, is uncommon among sedimentary limestones in the thickness of the beds. Most cliffs of chalk have unquestionably few obvious bedding planes unlike most thick sequences of limestone such as the Carboniferous Limestone or the Jurassic oolitic limestones. This may indicate unquestionably stable conditions higher than tens of millions of years.
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