EarthWord: Dedolomitization

Release Date:

The process in which magnesium is removed from the mineral dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate) leaving behind the minerals calcite (calcium carbonate) and periclase (magnesium oxide.)

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An image of calcite.
An image of calcite. Credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Definition:

  • The process in which magnesium is removed from the mineral dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate) leaving behind the minerals calcite (calcium carbonate) and periclase (magnesium oxide.)

Etymology:

  • Dolomite gets its name from the French scientist who discovered it, Déodat de Dolomieu.

Use/Significance in the Earth Science Community:

  • Dedolomitization results from moderate increases in temperature and pressure during various geologic processes. Some of the new minerals formed by the magnesium include oxides, hydroxides, and silicates. The term “dolomitization” refers to the opposite process, where calcite is converted to dolomite by the addition of magnesium.

USGS Use:

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