Constraints on the Formation of Sedimentary Dolomite

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Science  10 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4504, pp. 214-216
DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4504.214


The experimental replacement of calcite and aragonite by dolomite under a variety of conditions indicates that dolomitization can take place in marine and lacustrine environments under two conditions: (i) low dissolved sulfate concentrations and (ii) insubstantial contemporaneous silica diagenesis. Common sites for dolomite formation are areas where the dissolved sulfate concentration is reduced by microbial sulfate reduction, through the mixing of seawater with large amounts of fresh water, or where low-sulfate alkaline lacustrine environments prevail. Even under these conditions, dolomite formation may be inhibited by the concurrent transformation of opal-A (amorphous silica) to opal-CT (disordered cristobalite and tridymite), whereas the subsequent transformation of opal-CT to quartz favors the formation of dolomite.

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