Turkey is globally recognized with its marble production, but it actually has abundant natural deposits of many different minerals, rocks and stones as well. Apart from the quantity of the reserves in Turkey, their qualities are also remarkable. Here, general information about stones in Turkey will be presented and we will have a closer look at the main ones, which are marble, travertine, onyx, conglomerate, breccia and granite.
Natural stone industry in Turkey mainly consists of producing marble, granite, limestone, travertine, serpentine, diabase and slate stone. In 1996, the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration of Turkey, (known as Maden Tetkik ve Arama Genel Mudurlugu, MTA) calculated the natural stone sources for the first time as 5x10.9 cubic meters. Since then, there has been a constant growth of the natural stone industry in Turkey every year. Annual growth rate on average has been twice as that of the whole world. Following China, India and Italy, Turkey is the fourth country in the world in terms of the broadest natural stone production.
Natural stone reserves in Turkey are spread over the country. 32 % of the reserves are in the Aegean Region, 26 % in Marmara, 11 % in the Central Anatolia and 31 % of the reserves are in the rest of the country, namely Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia, the Black Sea Region and the Mediterranean Region.
Furthermore, Turkey is one of the most notable countries in the whole world in terms of marble, travertine and granite. The overall reserve of marble is estimated as 13.9 billion tons (nearly 5.1 billion cubic meters). According to the data MTA reports, Turkey potentially has 5 billion cubic meters of marble. It is known that almost 35 % of the marble reserves in the world are located in Turkey. With the current demand for marble, Turkey has enough reserves to supply marble for the whole world for the next 80 years. According to the studies, the capacity of marble that can be processed in Turkey is 3.8 billion m3. For travertine, it is 2.7 billion m3 and the capacity for granite it is 995 million m3.
In Turkey, there are approximately 1000 functioning querries and more than 7000 workshops and 1500 factories processing the stone. Moreover, approximately 250.000 employees are working in the sector. 90 % of the quarries are in the regions of Aegean and Marmara: 27 % in Balikesir, 24 % in Afyon, 12 % in Bilecik, 8 % in Denizli, 6% in Mugla and 4 % in Eskisehir. The production in these areas represent 65 % of the whole production in the country. In Afyon, there are 355 facilities processing marble and 45 of them are highly integrated large-scale plants. Yearly production in Afyon is estimated to be 6.6 million m². 14 % of the marble export of the country is done by the companies in Afyon.
Most of the quarries namely % 90 of them are situated in the western part of the country that is known as the Aegean and Marmara Regions. More than 500 types of products are manufactured by the companies throughout the country.
Marble reserves in Turkey are spread over the country, but they are mostly concentrated in the cities of Afyon, Balikesir, Denizli, Tokat, Mugla and Canakkale. At the southeast of Istanbul, there are more than 680 million metric tons of marble which is known as Golpazari Beige and it is the largest supply of its kind in Turkey. Likewise, at southwest of Istanbul, there are more than 190 million metric tons of white marble with the name of Mustafa Kemalpasa. The sources of genuine marble are: the Marmara Region, Iscehisar in Afyon, Sivrihisar in Eskisehir; Harmantepe, Dokurcun and Akyazı in Sakarya, Hamursuztasi in Mugla; Aksihar, Yalova, Goksun in Kahramanmaras, Kazdagi in Edremit, Temirli in Kirsehir; Arac, Tosya and Catalzeytin in Kastamonu.
With more than 650 million metric tons, the broadest reserves of different travertine types are located in Denizli in southwest of Turkey. Other sources of travertine in Turkey are: Antalya, Bursa, Malikoy - Haymana in Ankara, Eskipazar in Cankiri, Sicak Cermik in Sivas, Adana, Antakya, Reyhaniye, Nigde (especially boron).
The sources of onyx in Turkey are: Sogut in Bilecik, Mudurnu in Bolu, Avanos - Avci – Terme in Kirsehir, Akhisar in Manisa, Cermik in Sivas and Cubuk in Ankara.
Conglomerate and Breccia
The sources of conglomerates and breccias in Turkey are: Gulumbe and Sogut in Bilecik, Orhaneli in Bursa, Harmantepe-Dokurcun in Sakarya (with color of grey), Kutluca in Gebze Istanbul (with color of beige), Haymana in Ankara (with color of beige), Iskenderun (with color of black), Bozkir in Konya (with colors of brown and red), Toros in Adana (with color of beige).
Granite reserves are in Ordu, Rize, Trabzon, Kirklareli, Kirsehir, Bolu, Izmit, Canakkale and Izmir. The sources of other magma based stones such as diabase, serpentine, basalt, crystalline schist and gyans in Turkey are Kapidag in Balikesir, Armutlu in Bursa, Sivrihisar in Eskisehir, Gumushane, Zambakkaya (especially diabase) in Gemlik and Kurselik-Abbaslik (especially serpentine) in Bilecik.
Thanks to the current production technology, methods, craftsmanship and ease of transportation, Turkey is one of the leading countries in natural stone industry. Since the quality of the stone is of great importance, advanced technology with entirely automated machinery is utilized during the manufacturing process. That is why the plants processing the stones are able to create the desired product with commercially high standards of quality. Even though the companies in the Turkish natural stone market are moderate in their size, they are standardized and well organized through associations and unions.
Types and their uses:
There are more than 250 different types of natural stones in Turkey. The ultimate consumer of the processed natural stone is the building industry as a construction material and decoration.
The typical features of marble produced in Turkey can be summarized as follows: The marble can be distinguished by its quality without any cracks and defects. There is an extensive range of choice in color scheme of the marble. Marble products can be rendered in different sizes, even in large blocks. Different patterns are available in a form of decorative composition with the usage of different colors and crystal. Marble is a very suitable material to withstand effects of air pollution color changes, eroding and stains.Marble produced in various forms are used in interior and exterior coating, flooring, stairways, gunwales, construction pillars, grave designs countertops, vanities, sinks, fireplaces and sculpture. As a means of using marble in plating, coating and decoration, marble can take the shape of tiles, mosaics, pavers and steps.Genuine marble is a product of a transformation in rocks of carbonate such as limestone and dolomite and is generally in light colors. It has slits in its formation as a result of a pressure and vein-like patterns due to the minerals in water that the marble comes across. The colors and the compositions of the marble in Turkey are specific to where it is obtained from among 80 geographical areas. Therefore, there are more than 120 marble types in various colors, design and quality. Well-known types of marble, their features and areas of use can be summarized as follows:
Aegean Bordeaux has slits and is delicate because it is hard to take a shape and it can break up through its slits while polishing. Nonetheless, it can be used as a material for making nice plates. It is appropriate for indoors and outdoors and generally used for plating and decoration.
Afyon Golden is white with golden color of vein-like patterns. The patterns sometimes can be darker. It has a massive calcite crystal structure.
Afyon Tigerskin is easy to take in blocks and plates. It is also easy to cut and shape and rusting is not a risk factor. Since the marble has breccia-like structure it has light knots and dark grey patterns.
Afyon White is perfect for taking the form of blocks and plates. The efficiency is high while cutting sides and corners and during shaping and polishing. Rusting is not a risk factor to Afyon White. It has yellow vein-like patterns.
Aksehir Black is a product of cutting and crushing the metamorphic rocks into tiny pieces with a high mechanical force. It has both white calcite veins and brown styoliths. Giving a shape and polishing Aksehir Black is facile. It is appropriate for indoors and outdoors and generally used for plating and decoration.
Elazig Cherry is an outcome of serpentinisation and carbonating the basic rocks and its combination with red-green pebbles and cement. In blocks of Elazig Cherry, some slits can be observed. It is appropriate for indoors and outdoors and generally used for plating and decoration.
Karacabey Black is convenient to make plates. The efficiency of cutting, shaping and polishing is fairly good. Rusting is not a risk factor. It is appropriate for both indoors and outdoors and generally used for plating and decoration.
Leopard (also known as Salome) is outcome of cutting and crushing the metamorphic rocks into tiny pieces with a high mechanical force. It is white with red-yellow patterns. It is appropriate for both indoors and outdoors and generally used for plating, coating and decoration.
Marmara White is efficient in the form of block and plates and while cutting and shaping. It is not that difficult to polish as well. Rusting is not a risk element.
Milas Kavaklidere is white with some scarce purple vein-like patterns and some slits can be observed as well.
Mustafa Kemalpasa White is an outcome of large calcite crystals. It is white as its name suggests. The efficiency of the marble is good at cutting sides and corners during shaping. Rusting is not a risk factor. It is appropriate for indoors and outdoors and generally used for plating, coating and decoration.
Supren is a product of cutting and crushing the metamorphic rocks into tiny pieces with a high mechanical force like Leopard. It is gray-white with yellow and reddish patterns. It is appropriate for indoors and outdoors and generally used for plating, coating and decoration.
Some of the others are: Manyas White, Bilecik Beige, Karacasu Green (Turquoise), Kutahya Chocolate Brown.
Travertine Travertine is the outcome of the separation of carbon dioxide from hot water with calcium carbonate. The colors of travertine are diverse, ranging between white to brown. It is easy to work on travertine as it is quite light. Travertine is generally used as a coating material on tiles, moldings, flooring, pavers, steps, countertops, basins, vanities and fireplaces. It is also possible to use travertine in coating of floors and walls. Travertine is generally preferred for outdoor use since it is durable, easy to apply and abundant to find.
Onyx is crystal-like and semi-transparent, which is also known as alabaster. Onyx has a wide variety of color selection. It is easy to work on onyx and it is quite light. It is generally used as a coating material. Onyx is broadly used in tiles of floor and wall, mosaics, molding, paver. Vanities, sinks, showers, bathtubs, basins, countertops and even pools can be designed with onyx, as well.
The fragments of marble carried by a stream through long distances would have round shapes. When these fragments larger than 2 millimeters are mixed with sand and natural cement, the new mixture is called conglomerate. After cutting, shaping and polishing, it can be used as a coating product.
When the fragments of marble crushed by tectonic movement of earth are mixed with chemically precipitated cement, the new material is called breccia. Breccia is known with its vein-like patterns
The production of natural stones in Turkey dates back to four thousand years including the Greek civilization, the Roman and the Ottoman Empires. Natural stones were used in historical statues, monuments and architecture. Especially marble was used in the decoration of palaces, temples and other architectural structures by all civilizations of the land. One of the outstanding examples for these structures made of marble is the Temple of Artemis. Historical relics of the Hittites, Greeks and Romans such as arenas and amphitheaters; those of the Seljuk and Ottoman eras such as mosques, baths and fountains still can be seen thanks to the durability of the natural stones.