Lime has been bur­ned in Råbäck’s lime kiln sin­ce the mid-1800s. Here we see the bed­rock lay­er known as the alum sha­le lay­er. This part of the mountain was cre­a­ted approx­i­ma­tely 520–400 mil­li­on years ago, when the land­mass that now con­sti­tu­tes Swe­den was under the sea. 

Huge amounts of sand, clay, mud, and dead plants and ani­mals were depo­si­ted on the sea­flo­or. For mil­li­ons of years, this mate­ri­al was pressed toget­her until it lit­hi­fi­ed. Depen­ding on what kind of mate­ri­al was depo­si­ted on the sea­flo­or, dif­fe­rent rock lay­ers deve­lo­ped dif­fe­rent characteristics.

Alum sha­le is a black clay sha­le, cre­a­ted in an oxy­gen defi­ci­ent sea whe­re remains of dead plants and ani­mals were depo­si­ted on the sea­flo­or. The orga­nic mate­ri­al has not decom­po­sed but has been sto­red in the sha­le, and due to high pressu­re and heat it has been trans­for­med into oil. Thus, alum sha­le can be used as fuel for the lime kilns. The most use­ful lime to burn in the kilns is ant­h­raco­ni­te or stink­sto­ne. It is a type of limesto­ne that is embed­ded as “len­ses” in the alum sha­le. Here, the­se are most com­mon in the so-cal­led “lar­ge stink­sto­ne depo­sit” that can be seen in the escarp­ment, a cohe­si­ve lay­er up to two metres thick. The con­tact sur­fa­ce between sha­le and stink­sto­ne is clear­ly visib­le. Stink­sto­ne can be found in vari­ous forms, e.g. con­tai­ning pris­ma­tic cal­ci­te crys­tals. The stink­sto­ne con­tains a rela­ti­vely high amount of orga­nic mate­ri­al, making it smell of petro­le­um or kero­se­ne when you stri­ke it. That is whe­re the name “stink­sto­ne” comes from. The con­di­tions for lime bur­ning were per­fect here: both the limesto­ne and the fuel could be quar­ri­ed at the same location.

A path runs around the quar­ry, whe­re you can read more about the geo­lo­gy and indust­ri­al histo­ry. You can reach the lime kiln eit­her from Trol­men sta­tion or from the par­king at Råbäck’s harbour.

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