What Is Cantera Stone?


Cantera Stone

  The word Cantera comes from the Spanish word for quarry and refers to  the stone workers industry in Mexico. Cantera is the generic word used  for “quarry stone”. Although other stones tend to distinguish themselves  by using their proper names such as Travertine, Marble and Limestone.   Cantera generally refers to the welded volcanic tuffs and breccia’s prevalent to the “trans-Mexico” volcanic belt in Central Mexico.
    Cantera Stone is a strong and versatile material and an ideal medium  from which experienced stone carvers can create custom works of art. It  is a natural volcanic quarried stone that is porous and lightweight. It  has long been used as a building material because of its natural  beauty, color, texture and workability. Many ancient buildings and  monuments around the world were created using this stone and the  techniques for carving it have not changed much over the years.
   Limestone is a  sedimentary stone composed primarily of calcium carbonate ( CaCo3). It  is formed through chemical precipitation in oceans and large lake  environments over vast areas. Limestone is generally more consistent in  color and lacks the layering and veining seen in travertine but can  accumulate shells and fossils.
   Travertine is  another sedimentary stone composed primarily of calcium carbonate but  differs from limestone in that it is deposited by natural springs in a  terrestrial environment. There are 2 types of travertines relevant to  the stone carving industry, those deposited in hot water environments  and those deposited in cold water environments. The ambient water  travertine is a less dense, softer and very porous stone known as tufa.  Organic organisms often colonize the surface of travertine while it is  forming and the acidity from these decaying organisms is what gives  travertine its distinctive porosity.
     Travertine deposited in environments that were so hot as to be  devoid of microbes, formed stone that is characterized by low porosity  and well developed lamination, often with perpendicular crystallization,  this is known as calcareous cinter.
   Porphyry (  for our purposes ) is mainly used as an adoquin or paver for driveways  and streets. It is characterized by its distinctive large crystals in a  matrix of small almost invisible crystals formed in a two stage cooling  process associated with magma rising to the surface. Known for its super  hardness and distinctive reds and purples with gold and green hues this  stone can last for thousands of years as attested to by the many roman  streets still in use today. Typically these cobbles are guillotine split  and have a rough irregular square shape. An experienced installer can  sand set these in a myriad of different patterns and designs.