Abstract

Dolomite is a magnesium rich carbonate mineral abundant in ancient coral reef formations [1-3] yet very little is found forming in modern sedimentary environments. For over 150 years this conundrum has led to various theories being put forward about dolomite formation, however none have solved the so called `Dolomite Problem'[1]. It has generally been considered a post-depositional diagenetic process [2, 3], despite little experimental success at replicating dolomite formation in normal sea water conditions [4]. Here we show dolomite is in fact forming with living crustose coralline algae Hydrolithon onkodes, a species growing prolifically in coral reefs globally. Chemical micro-analysis of the coralline skeleton reveals that not only are the cell walls calcitised, but that the cell spaces are typically filled with magnesite, rimmed by dolomite, or both. Thus there are at least three mineral phases present (magnesium calcite, dolomite and magnesite) rather than one or two (magnesium calcite and brucite) as previously thought[5-7]. Both the magnesium calcite and dolomite phases comprise a continuum of magnesium to calcium compositions, whereas magnesite is near ideal composition. Using a mass balance approach we quantify potential dolomitisation of the coralline algae and can account for the total amount of dolomite found in a raised Pleistocene reef [2]. Our results are consistent with observed dolomites in coralline-algal rich environments in fossil reefs. This is the first time the presence of dolomite in living coralline algae has been confirmed.
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Product Type/Sub Type

nonGeographicDataset - External Publication - Scientific Journal Paper

Constraints

license
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence

IP Owner

Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia)

Author(s)

Date (publication)

2011

Product Type

nonGeographicDataset

Topic Category

geoscientificInformation

Keywords

External Publication
Scientific Journal Paper
geochemistry
carbonate
Earth Sciences

Resource Language

English

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utf8

Resource Security Classification

unclassified

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Unknown

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onLine

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distributor
Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
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Canberra
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ACT
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2601
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Australia
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Metadata File Identifier

a05f7893-00c5-7506-e044-00144fdd4fa6

Metadata Standard Name

ANZLIC Metadata Profile: An Australian/New Zealand Profile of AS/NZS ISO 19115:2005, Geographic information - Metadata

Metadata Standard Version

1.1

Metadata Date Stamp

2011-03-29

METADATA SECURITY CLASSIFICATION

unclassified

Metadata Contact

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pointOfContact
Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
City
Canberra
Administrative Area
ACT
Postal Code
2601
Country
Australia
Email Address
Related Links
For information on acquiring this product,
please contact the Geoscience Australia Sales Centre via:

fax:
+61 2 6249 9960; or
phone:
1800 800 173 (within Australia);
 
+61 2 6249 9966 (outside Australia).

Please note that support hours are 9 am to 5 pm weekdays