Dolomite Crystal Size Distribution

  • Duncan F. Sibley
  • Jay M. Gregg
  • Robert G. Brown
  • Peter R. Laudon
Part of the Frontiers in Sedimentary Geology book series (SEDIMENTARY)


Crystal size distributions (CSD) in dolomites carry information concerning nucleation and growth. CSDs of Recent to Cambrian age dolomites were determined by point counting crystals in thin section and scanning electron photomicrographs. Mean crystal sizes range from approximately 0.4 μm for Recent dolomites from Belize, to 70 μm for the Saluda Formation (Ordovician), Ohio, to 500 μm for epigenetic dolomites from the Trenton Limestone (Ordovician), Michigan, and Bonneterre Dolomite (Cambrian), Missouri. The CSDs of the Belize dolomites and nonplanar Bonneterre dolomites closely fit a log-normal distribution. All samples are unimodal and normal to coarsely skewed. In some cases, the variation in skewness among samples from the same location is as large as the variation between samples from different locations.

Large variations of mean size and skewness occur between clasts in a dolomitized conglomerate from the Trenton Limestone. This indicates that the substrate has a large effect on the CSD. There is no simple nucleation and growth law that explains the CSD of most of the ancient dolomites studied. However, a qualitative model of continuous nucleation and flux-limited growth is consistent with the data. In flux-limited growth, crystals near macropores grow faster, and therefore larger, than crystals surrounded by micropores where solute transport occurs by diffusion. The log-normal CSDs of Recent dolomites from Belize and ancient nonplanar dolomites from the Bonneterre are consistent with surface energy driven recrystallization (Ostwald ripening).


Sedimentary Petrology Crystal Size Distribution Dolomite Crystal Michigan Basin Continuous Nucleation 


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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan F. Sibley
  • Jay M. Gregg
  • Robert G. Brown
  • Peter R. Laudon

There are no affiliations available

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