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Experimental evidence for abiotic formation of low-temperature proto-dolomite facilitated by clay minerals

Deng, L; Xu, Y; Papineau, D; Yu, N; Fan, Q; Qiu, X; Wang, H; (2019) Experimental evidence for abiotic formation of low-temperature proto-dolomite facilitated by clay minerals. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta , 247 pp. 83-95. 10.1016/j.gca.2018.12.036. Green open access

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Abstract

The origin of sedimentary dolomite is a subject of long-standing enigma that still awaits resolution. Previous studies have shown that room temperature synthesis of abiotic dolomite is rarely achieved and primary (proto-)dolomite precipitation is closely associated with microbial activities. In this study, we demonstrate through laboratory carbonation experiments that highly negative-charged clay minerals (as indicated by the values of zetal potential) such as illite and montmorillonite can aid the precipitation of abiotic proto-dolomite under ambient conditions, whereas nearly-neutral charged kaolinite exerts negligible influence on such process. In comparison to montmorillonite, illite has higher surface-charge density, thus is more effective in catalyzing proto-dolomite precipitation. Furthermore, the signal of proto-dolomite in carbonate neoformations is enhanced with increasing concentrations of illite or montmorillonite. On the basis of these results, we suggest that clay minerals catalyze dolomite formation perhaps via electrostatic binding of Mg2+ and Ca2+ ions and simultaneous desolvation of these strongly hydrated cations, a crucial step for dolomite crystallization. The resulting proto-dolomites display the morphologies, textures, and structures similar to those of biogenic dolomite reported before, which are considered precursors of ordered sedimentary dolomite. Therefore, our results offer a possible route to authigenic dolomite found in sedimentary environments.

Type: Article
Title: Experimental evidence for abiotic formation of low-temperature proto-dolomite facilitated by clay minerals
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2018.12.036
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2018.12.036
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Dolomite problem, Proto-dolomite, Clay mineral, Catalytic effect, Laboratory synthesis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064767
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