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Dolomite

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Formula:
CaMg(CO
 
3
)
 
2
System:TrigonalColour:Colourless, white, grey, ...
Lustre:Vitreous, PearlyHardness:3½ - 4
Member of:Dolomite Group
Name:
Named in 1791 by Nicolas Théodore de Saussure in honor of the French mineralogist and geologist, Déodat(Dieudonné) Guy Silvain Tancrède Gratet de Dolomieu [June 24, 1750 Dolomieu, near Tour-du-Pin, Isère, France - November 26, 1801 Château-Neuf, Sâone-et-Loire, France]. de Dolomieu wrote numerous books on observations on geology, notably about the Alps and Pyrrenes, in addition to theoretical books about the internal structure of the Earth. He discovered a specimen of what would eventually be called dolomite during his participation in Napoleon Bonaparte's expedition into Egypt in 1798.
Isostructural with:Nordenskiöldine


Dolomite Group. Ankerite-Dolomite Series.

Usually found as druzes or clusters of small rhombohedral crystals with a somewhat "saddle"-like shape, white to tan to pink in color.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Dolomite. Currently in public beta-test.

Classification of Dolomite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:5/B.03-10
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:5.AB.10

5 : CARBONATES (NITRATES)
A : Carbonates without additional anions, without H2O
B : Alkali-earth (and other M2+) carbonates
Dana 7th edition ID:14.2.1.1
Dana 8th edition ID:14.2.1.1

14 : ANHYDROUS NORMAL CARBONATES
2 : AB(XO3)2
Hey's CIM Ref.:11.4.6

11 : Carbonates
4 : Carbonates of Ca
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Occurrences of Dolomite

Geological Setting:An important sedimentary and metamorphic mineral, found as the principal mineral in dolostones and metadolostones, and as an important mineral in limestones and marbles where calcite is the principal mineral present. Also found as a hydrothermal vein mineral, forming crystals in cavities; and found in serpentinites and similar rocks.

Physical Properties of Dolomite

Lustre:Vitreous, Pearly
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Transparent, Translucent
Colour:Colourless, white, grey, reddish-white, brownish-white, or pink; colourless in transmitted light
Streak:White
Hardness (Mohs):3½ - 4
Hardness Data:Measured
Tenacity:Brittle
Cleavage:Perfect
On {1011}.
Parting:Noted in lamellar twins on {0221}. Twin gliding on {0221};
Fracture:Sub-Conchoidal
Translation gliding:translation gliding with T{0001}, t[1010].
Density (measured):2.84 - 2.86 g/cm3
Density (calculated):2.876 g/cm3

Crystallography of Dolomite

Crystal System:Trigonal
Class (H-M):3 - Rhombohedral
Space Group:R3
Cell Parameters:a = 4.8012(1) Å, c = 16.002Å
Ratio:a:c = 1 : 3.333
Unit Cell Volume:V 319.45 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Z:3
Morphology:Crystals typically rhombohedral with {1011} or {4041} dominant, may also be prismatic {1120} terminated by rhombohedral faces; tabular {0001} with {1120}; {1011} often striated horizontally or curved - "saddle" or "fingernail" habit. Also massive, coarse to fine granular, fibrous or pisolitic.
Twinning:On {0001}, common with re-entrant angles around the middle edges; on {1010} common; on {1120}, common, as complementary twins simulating holohedral symmetry; also as double twins by combination of this law and twins on {1010} or {0001}. On {1011}, rare. On {0221} as lamellae, especially in grains of dolomite marble.
Crystal Atlas:
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Dolomite no.2 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Dolomite no.7 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Dolomite no.18 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Dolomite no.54 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Dolomite no.59 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Dolomite no.89 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)

About Crystal Atlas

The mindat.org Crystal Atlas allows you to view a selection of crystal drawings of real and idealised crystal forms for this mineral and, in certain cases, 3d rotating crystal objects. The 3d models and HTML5 code are kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

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Epitaxial Relationships of Dolomite

Epitaxial Minerals:
Siderite
FeCO
 
3
Rhodochrosite
MnCO
 
3
Chlorite Group
Calcite
CaCO
 
3
Antigorite
Mg
 
3
(Si
 
2
O
 
5
)(OH)
 
4
Epitaxi Comments:Growths of dolomite on calcite or vice versa, with parallel axes; also dolomite on rhodochrosite or siderite. Also occurs in oriented growths with antigorite (uncertain), and with chlorite [{0001} and {001} parallel].
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
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Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Horizontal Axis: ° to ° Vertical Axis: % Source Data: Filtered Data:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.
X-Ray Powder Diffraction:
d-spacingIntensity
3.70(10)
2.89(100)
2.67(10)
2.40(10)
2.19(20)
2.02(10)
1.805(10)
1.787(10)

Optical Data of Dolomite

Type:Uniaxial (-)
RI values: nω = 1.679 - 1.681 nε = 1.500
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.179 - 0.181

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:Moderate
Comments:Anomalously biaxial.

Chemical Properties of Dolomite

Formula:
CaMg(CO
 
3
)
 
2
Simplified for copy/paste:CaMg(CO3)2
Essential elements:C, Ca, Mg, O
All elements listed in formula:C, Ca, Mg, O
Common Impurities:Fe,Mn,Co,Pb,Zn

Relationship of Dolomite to other Species

Series:Forms a series with Ankerite (see here)
Member of:Dolomite Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Ankerite
Ca(Fe
2+
 
,Mg)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
Kutnohorite
Ca(Mn,Mg,Fe)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
Minrecordite
CaZn(CO
 
3
)
 
2
Norsethite
BaMg(CO
 
3
)
 
2
Common Associates:
SideriteQuartzGypsumFluoriteCelestine
CalciteBaryte
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
5.AB.05Calcite
CaCO
 
3
5.AB.05Gaspéite
(Ni,Mg,Fe)CO
 
3
5.AB.05Magnesite
MgCO
 
3
5.AB.05Otavite
CdCO
 
3
5.AB.05Rhodochrosite
MnCO
 
3
5.AB.05Siderite
FeCO
 
3
5.AB.05Smithsonite
ZnCO
 
3
5.AB.05Spherocobaltite
CoCO
 
3
5.AB.10Ankerite
Ca(Fe
2+
 
,Mg)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.10Kutnohorite
Ca(Mn,Mg,Fe)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.10Minrecordite
CaZn(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.15Aragonite
CaCO
 
3
5.AB.15Cerussite
PbCO
 
3
5.AB.15Strontianite
SrCO
 
3
5.AB.15Witherite
BaCO
 
3
5.AB.20Vaterite
CaCO
 
3
5.AB.25Huntite
CaMg
 
3
(CO
 
3
)
 
4
5.AB.30Norsethite
BaMg(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.35Alstonite
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.40Olekminskite
Sr(Sr,Ca,Ba)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.40Paralstonite
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.45Barytocalcite
BaCa(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.50Carbocernaite
(Ca,Na)(Sr,Ce,Ba)(CO
 
3
)
 
2
5.AB.55Benstonite
(Ba,Sr)
 
6
(Ca,Mn)
 
6
Mg(CO
 
3
)
 
13
5.AB.60Juangodoyite
Na
 
2
Cu(CO
 
3
)
 
2
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
11.4.1Calcite
CaCO
 
3
11.4.2Aragonite
CaCO
 
3
11.4.3Vaterite
CaCO
 
3
11.4.4Monohydrocalcite
CaCO
 
3
· H
 
2
O
11.4.5Ikaite
CaCO
 
3
· 6H
 
2
O
11.4.7Huntite
CaMg
 
3
(CO
 
3
)
 
4
11.4.8Sergeevite
Ca
 
2
Mg
 
11
(CO
 
3
)
 
13
· 10H
 
2
O
Related Minerals - Dana Grouping):

- +
14.2.1.2Ankerite
Ca(Fe
2+
 
,Mg)(CO
 
3
)
 
2

Other Names for Dolomite

Synonyms:
CodazziteCompound SparMagnesian LimestoneMagnesio-CalciteMagnesiodolomite
MiemiteMuricalcitePearl SparPicrite (of Brogniart)Rhomb Spar
RidolphiteTharandite
Other Languages:
French:Chaux carbonatée aluminifère
Dolomie
Spath magnésien
Spath perlé
German:Bitterkalk
Bittersalzerde
Bitterspat (of Klaproth)
Dolomit
Kalktalkspath
Kohlensauere Kalkerde
Magnesiocalcit
Magnesiodolomit
Miemit
Muricalcit
Paratomes Kalk-Haloid
Perlspath
Rauhkalk
Rautenspath
Rhombenspat
Rhomboidalspath
Ridolfit
Taraspit
Wandstein
Japanese:苦灰石
Russian:Доломит
Simplified Chinese:白云石
Spanish:Dolomita
Magnesiodolomita
Miemita
Muricalcita
Taraspita
Varieties:
BrossiteCobaltoan DolomiteFerroan DolomiteGreineriteGurhofian
Manganoan DolomiteMg-rich DolomitePlumbodolomitTaraspiteTeruelite
Zincian Dolomite

Other Information

Fluorescence in UV light:Some types fluoresce in either SW or LW UV.
Other Information:Very slowly dissolved in cold acids. Powder readily dissolves in warm acids with effervescence.

May exhibit triboluminescence.

Dolomite and ferroan dolomite occur frequently as pseudomorphs after calcite and also after aragonite. Rarely pseudomorphic after cerussite, baryte and fluorite.

Several species have been recognized as incrustation or substitution pseudomorphs after dolomite crystals. These include siderite, calcite, smithsonite, quartz, talc, limonite; and more rarely, hematite, pyrite, malachite, azurite, magnetite, cinnabar, sphalerite, pyrolusite, marcasite and serpentine.
Health Warning:No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.
Industrial Uses:A major source of magnesium, particularly for agricultural and pharmaceutical applications.

References for Dolomite

Reference List:

- +
Saussure (1792) Journal phys.: 40: 161 (as Dolomie).

Delamétherie, J.C. (1792) New Edition of Mongez’s Sciagraphie (French translation of Bergmann’s Sciagraphia, with additions). 2 volumes, Paris: 1: 207 (as Spath magnésien).

Kirwan, R. (1794) Elements of Mineralogy, second edition: 1: 111 (as Dolomite).

Klaproth, M.H. (1802) Beiträge zur chemischen Kenntniss der Mineralkörper, vol. 3: 3: 292 (as Miemit).

Wollaston (1812) Royal Society of London, Philosophical Transactions: 159.

Hausmann, J.F.L. (1813) Handbuch der Mineralogie 3 volumes, Göttingen. Second edition: 960 (as Bitterkalk).

Gibbs (1847) Annalen der Physik, Halle, Leipzig: 71: 361.

Sella (1856) Studii sulla min. Sarda, Torino.

Bořický (1876) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 47.

Tschermak (1881) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 4: 102, 109.

Tschermak (1882) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 4: 111.

Becke (1889) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 10: 138.

Becke (1890) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 11: 224.

Eisenhuth (1902) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 35: 582.

Johnsen (1902) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart: II: 133.

Mügge (1903) Jb. Min., Beil.-Bd.: 16: 374.

Doelter, C. (1911) Handbuch der Mineral-chemie (in 4 volumes divided into parts): 1: 360.

Rinne (1914) Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Stuttgart: 705.

Goldschmidt, V. (1916) Atlas der Krystallformen. 9 volumes, atlas, and text: vol. 3: 65.

Ford (1917) Trans. Conn. Ac. Arts Sc.: 22: 213.

Honess (1917) American Mineralogist: 2: 57.

Koller (1918) Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paleontologie, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Beil.-Bd.: 42: 457.

Gaubert (1919) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 42: 88.

Harding et al (1920) Chemical News and Journal of Industrial Science, London: 121: 50.

Niggli (1921) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 56: 230.

Garnett (1923) Mineralogical Magazine: 20: 54.

Mellor, J.W. (1923) A Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry. 16 volumes, London: 4: 372.

Mitchell (1923) Journal of the Chemical Society, London: 123: 1055.

Ungemach (1923) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 58: 161.

Bäckström (1924) Journal of the Chemical Society, London: 125: 430.

Wyckoff and Merwin (1924) American Journal of Science: 8: 447.

de Klerk and Goldschmidt (1925) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 38: 159.

Eitel (1925) Jb. Min., Beil.-Bd.: 51: 477.

Garrabos (1926) Bulletin de la Société française de Minéralogie: 49: 110.

Rocza (1926) Zentralblatt Mineralien: 229.

Strobentz (1926) Földtani Közlöny, Budapest (Magyarhone Földtani Torsulat): 55: 49.

Zsivny (1926) Ann. Hist.-Nat. Mus. Nat. Hungar.: 24: 423.

Hintze, Carl (1927) Handbuch der Mineralogie. Berlin and Leipzig. 6 volumes: 1[3A]: 3333.

Zsivny (1927) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 65: 728.

Kani (1928) Journal of the Geological Society of Tokyo: 35: 279.

Halla (1930) Ak Wien, Sitzber.: 139: 683.

Onorato E. (1930) Sulla natura della dolomite. Periodico di Mineralogia - Roma pp. 216-220.

Vavrinecz (1932) Magyar Chemiai Folyóirat, Budapest: 38: 140.

Ulke (1933) American Mineralogist: 18: 312.

Koch and Zombory (1934) Földtani Közlöny, Budapest (Magyarhone Földtani Torsulat): 64: 160.

Tokody (1934) Magyar Tudom. Akad. Mat. Termeszett. Ertisitö, Budapest: 50: 650.

Du Rietz (1935) Geologiska Föeningens I Stockholm. Förhandlinger, Stockholm: 57: 133.

Hawkes and Smythe (1935) Mineralogical Magazine: 24: 65.

Koiké (1935) Journal of the Japanese Association of Min. Petr. Ec. Geol.: 14: 216.

Schoklitsch (1935) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 90: 433.

Tertsch (1935) Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Mineralogie und Petrographie, Leipzig: 92: 39.

Royer (1936) Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences de Paris: 202: 429.

Siegl (1936) Mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen, Vienna: 48: 288.

Koritnig and Ehrlich (1940) Zentralblatt Mineralien: 41.

Rodgers (1940) American Journal of Science: 238: 788.

Fairbairn and Hawkes (1941) American Journal of Science: 239: 617.

Smythe and Dunham (1947) Mineralogical Magazine: 28: 53.

Johansson (1948) Geologiska Föeningens I Stockholm. Förhandlinger, Stockholm: 70: 349.

Faust (1949) American Mineralogist: 34: 789.

Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (1951), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II: Halides, Nitrates, Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Tungstates, Molybdates, Etc. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 7th edition, revised and enlarged: 208-217.

Goldsmith, J.R., D.L. Graf, J. Witters & D.A. Northrop (1962), Studies in the system CaCO3•MgCO3•FeCO3: (1) Phase relations; (2) A method for major element spectrochemical analyses; and (3) Composition of some ferroan dolomites Jour. Geol.: 70: 659-688.

Van der Veen, A.H. (1965) Calcite-dolomite intergrowths in high-temperature carbonate rocks. American Mineralogist: 50: 2070-2077.

Peterson, M.N.A., Von der Borch, C.C., and Bien, G.S. (1966) Growth of dolomite crystals. American Journal of Science: 264: 252-272. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 156: 233-243.

Reeder, R., Dollase, W. (1989): Structural variation in the dolomite-ankerite solid-solution series: An X-ray, Mössbauer, and TEM study. Am. Mineral. 74, 1159-1167.

Ross, N. L. & Reeder, R. (1992): High-pressure structural study of dolomite and ankerite. American Mineralogist, 77, 412-421.

Chai, L., Navrotsky, A., Reeder, R.J. (1995): Energetics of calcium-rich dolomite. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 59, 939-944.

Gaines, Richard V., H. Catherine, W. Skinner, Eugene E. Foord, Brian Mason, Abraham Rosenzweig (1997), Dana's New Mineralogy : The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana: 4.

Anthony, J.W., Bideaux, R.A., Bladh, K.W., and Nichols, M.C. (2003) Handbook of Mineralogy, Volume V. Borates, Carbonates, Sulfates. Mineral Data Publishing, Tucson, AZ, 813pp.: 191.

Antao, S.M., Mulder, W.H., Hassan, S., Crichton, W.A., and Parise, J.B. (2004) Cation disorder in dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2, and its influence on the aragonite + magnesite ↔ dolomite reaction boundary. American Mineralogist: 89: 1142-1147.

Drits, V.A., McCarty, D.K., Sakharov, B., Milliken, K.L. (2005): New insights into structural and compositional variability in some ancient excess-Ca dolomite. Can. Mineral. 43, 1255-1290.

Mindat.org articles about Dolomite

Article entries:
The old spots are sometimes the best spots.Steve Hajdu

Internet Links for Dolomite

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  • Look for Dolomite on Wikipedia
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  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Dolomite details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
  • Mineral Dealers:
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  • Specimens:The following Dolomite specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

    Localities for Dolomite

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