This work is also dedicated to the 5th anniversary (2017-2021) of the foundation of Qing Yang Institute for Industrial Minerals (QYIM,

作者们 谨以 此文 祝贺   青阳非金属矿研究院   成立五周年。

Structure, genesis and resources efficiency of dolomite: New insights and remaining enigmas

Chemical Geology

Available online 24 March 2021, 120191




New insights into structure of dolomite at high T and under ultrahigh P
   • Examining new findings and interpretations on the genesis of dolomite
   • Implications of dolomite synthesis for understanding dolomite genesis
   • Potential for efficient and cleaner uses of dolomite in various industries
  •  Opportunity to link basic research on dolomite with improved industrial applications


Dolomite can form the major mineral component of marlstones, and limestones and is an important sink for Magnesium in the different geogene environments such as oceans. The Mg-distribution in the Earth crust and mantle is partly controlled by dolomite in various crystal structures. The genesis of dolomite record important geochemical and environmental processes in the Earth's element cycle. The human society seeks dolomite as an ideal place for CO2-storage, and it is used for management and maintenance of the environment, and in various industrial processes. Dolomite hosts several important ore deposits and major fossil fuel occurrences. The review brings together new advances and insights from recent studies on dolomite structure, geological genesis, laboratory synthesis, and applications. In the mantle, dolomite may adapt to increasing pressure by structural rearrangement and undergoes crystal phase transitions. At present, four high-pressure polymorphs have been identified. The phase transitions allow dolomite to survive subduction into the mantle, possibly into the transition zone, but stability is not fully predictable and is influenced by factors that include initial degree of cation ordering in dolomite and Fe and Mn substitution for Mg in the dolomite crystal lattice. The presence of Fe and Mn is influenced by the environment of dolomite formation. The key factors controlling formation of dolomite, including transition or recrystallization from precursor high-Mg calcite or proto-dolomite, at low temperatures remain ambiguous. Sulfate-reducing bacteria, methanogens, and aerobic bacteria, the exudates or relevant extracellular polymeric substances, fluctuating environmental conditions, and the negatively charged surfaces of clay minerals all can mediate high-Mg calcite/proto-dolomite formation at low temperature. As for secondary dolomite, formed by Mg2+ replacement of Ca2+ in carbonate minerals, several models have been proposed and widely adopted, including: near-surface dolomitization, burial dolomitization, and hydrothermal dolomitization. The formation of massive deposits of dolomite in marine sediments probably involves multiple dolomitization processes. Yet the “dolomite problem” remains enigmatic. Mg isotope analysis, an emerging technology, offers a new approach to further investigate the genesis of dolomite. In the laboratory, synthesis of dolomite at low temperature has yet to be achieved. Fundamental scientific research on dolomite is expected to inform the sustainable use of dolomite resources. Traditional uses of dolomite typically in construction materials, refractory, and flux continue. Now, the use of dolomite and its calcined products is being expanded into environmental protection, soil improvement, thermochemical energy storage and biomedical materials.

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Phase  tra
Geological genesis           

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Structure, genesis and resources efficiency of dolomite: New insights and remaining enigmas

Article reference
Chemical Geology
Corresponding author
Chun Hui Zhou
First author
Wen Kai Cai
Received at Editorial Office
13 Jul 2020
Article revised
15 Mar 2021
Article accepted for publication
20 Mar 2021

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