DOLOMITE

Dolomite is a common rock-forming mineral. It is a calcium magnesium carbonate with a chemical composition of CaMg(CO3)2. It is the primary component of the sedimentary rock known as dolostone and the metamorphic rock known as dolomitic marble. Limestone that contains some dolomite is known as dolomitic limestone.

Dolomite is rarely found in modern sedimentary environments but dolostones are very common in the rock record. They can be geographically extensive and hundreds to thousands of feet thick. Most rocks that are rich in dolomite were originally deposited as calcium carbonate muds that were postdepositionally altered by magnesium-rich pore water to form dolomite.

Dolomite is also a common mineral in hydrothermal veins. There it is often associated with barite, fluorite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena or sphalerite. In these veins it often occurs as rhombohedral crystals which sometimes have curved faces.

The most common use for dolostone is in the construction industry, calcined in the production of cement, as acid neutralization in the chemical industry, in stream restoration projects and as a soil conditioner, as a source of magnesia (MgO), a feed additive for livestock, a sintering agent and flux in metal processing and as an ingredient in the production of glass, bricks and ceramics,