Calcium is a co-inventor and major participant in a large number of astounding inventions such as bones, teeth, eggshells, seashells, and I might add travertine tile, just to remind me lest I forget, that we sentient beings and the many buildings we assemble, owe a lot to calcium.
Travertine is a type of limestone, a sedimentary rock formation of calcium carbonate that assembles itself over countless eons with help from the forces of gravity and aqueous precipitation. As the constituent atoms of CaCO3 organize, they do so, primarily, by structuring a blend of two mineral forms, namely, calcite and aragonite.
The following is an example of the geometry of calcite, a crystalline form of CaCO3 that has the ability to make lenses for eyes!
Because of their translucence, I think calcium carbonate calcite crystals are an especially magical, major key to the success of Earth’s diverse biota. Why? A billion years ago or so calcite crystals became lenses for the compound eyes of tribolites! And I like to think that, until the likes of tribolites showed up on our planet, photons were just that, photons. There was no light.It takes eyes and brains to make light happen!
Ancient limestone reef outcroppings are common and an excellent place to find the CaCO3 fossilized remains of prehistoric creatures. There is a miocene reef near my home in Orange County, CA in the middle of a residential area that is loaded with 17-million year-old scallops and snails.
The nucleus of calcium-40 and its stable isotopes consist of “nothing more” than twenty protons insulated by twenty or so neutrons. The protons control the activity of an enormous forcefield that consists of “nothing more” than twenty highly regimented electrons that whirl about the proton control-center in mad, organized frenzies.
As such, and this can be said for all of the atoms in the periodic table, calcium is, in effect, a highly creative, interactive nanobot! At least, I like to think of calcium and all other atoms in this way since it helps me keep the reality of my existence in perspective. Also, with these musings, I find I’m less prone to take my life on this planet for granted.