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The rocks used to build Buckingham Palace and the Pentagon are fossilized microbes older than dinosaurs

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The Pentagon was one of the buildings to make use of Oolitic limestone
Ken Hammond / Courtesty of the US Air Force / Getty Images

Oolitic limestone, a popular building material found in iconic structures such as Buckingham Palace, the Pentagon and the Empire State Building, is the mineralized remains of prehistoric microbes that lived 200 years ago. Millions of years ago, the Jurassic period, a new study has found.

Earlier, it was thought that oolitic limestone had formed as a result of ooid grains rolling on the bottom of the sea, slowly accumulating the sediment layers, but this snowball theory has now been discredited by a study conducted by the National University of Australia (ANU).

Oolithic limestone is almost entirely composed of and millimeter-sized spheres stacked one on top of the other, leading to the now discredited assumption about their formation, releves the North American stock exchange. "We have proposed a radically different explanation for the origin of ooids that explains their definitive characteristics," said Dr. Bob Burne of the School of Earth Sciences at ANU. "Our research has highlighted another vital role that microbes play on Earth and in our lives," he added.

Oolithic limestones have been found and identified from all geological periods, notes the ANU report. There are such deposits scattered around the world, including regions such as the United Kingdom, Bahamas, China, the USA. UU., Germany and Australia, to name a few.

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Rogenstein Oolite from Germany composed entirely of millimeter-sized spheres
Lannon Harley for ANU

" Many oolitic limestones they make excellent construction stones because they are strong and light, "said Burne. Jurassic oolite in England has been used to build much of the City of Bath, the British Museum and the Cathedral of St. Paul. The Mississippian oolite found in Indiana in the United States has been used to build parts of the Pentagon in Virginia and parts of the Empire State Building in New York City. "

" Our mathematical model explains the concentric accumulation of layers, and predicts a limit size of ooids, "said Professor Murray Batchelor of the School of Physics and Engineering Research and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences of ANU, led an international team of researchers and published their findings in Scientific Reports magazine.

] The model used, says Batchelor, was a modified version developed in 1972 to calculate the growth of brain tumors, adding that this study could be a way of understanding how the climate has changed and how these past changes have affected the environment. in prehistoric times.

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