Tag Archives: Calcification

Does phosphate thin foram shells?

The White Cliffs of Dover – like much of southern England, it’s made of calcifying plankton (via http://bit.ly/I90Fd5)

Whenever I look at the iconic White Cliffs of Dover I am reminded of an interesting fact: much of the south of England is made from plankton. Yes, the chalk (calcium carbonate) found here is predominantly composed of plankton – calcifying single-celled plankton to be precise– that sunk to the sea-floor tens of millions of years ago, was compressed to form chalk, and then uplifted into its present position. The two most abundant calcifying planktonic organisms forming this chalk are the coccolithophores, which form stunning blooms visible from space, and the foraminifera (‘forams’ to their friends). Continue reading Does phosphate thin foram shells?