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Acceleration of dolomitization by zinc in saline waters

Vandeginste, Veerle; Snell, Oliver; Hall, Matthew R.; Steer, Elisabeth; Vandeginste, Arne

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Oliver Snell

Matthew R. Hall

Elisabeth Steer

Arne Vandeginste


Dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2) plays a key role in the global carbon cycle. Yet, the chemical mechanisms that catalyze its formation remain an enigma. Here, using batch reactor experiments, we demonstrate an unexpected acceleration of dolomite formation by zinc in saline fluids, reflecting a not uncommon spatial association of dolomite with Mississippi Valley-type ores. The acceleration correlates with dissolved zinc concentration, irrespective of the zinc source tested (ZnCl2 and ZnO). Moreover, the addition of dissolved zinc counteracts the inhibiting effect of dissolved sulfate on dolomite formation. Integration with previous studies enables us to develop an understanding of the dolomitization pathway. Our findings suggest that the fluids’ high ionic strength and zinc complexation facilitate magnesium ion dehydration, resulting in a dramatic decrease in induction time. This study establishes a previously unrecognized role of zinc in dolomite formation, and may help explain the changes in dolomite abundance through geological time.


Vandeginste, V., Snell, O., Hall, M. R., Steer, E., & Vandeginste, A. (2019). Acceleration of dolomitization by zinc in saline waters. Nature Communications, 10, Article 1851.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 11, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 23, 2019
Publication Date Apr 23, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 28, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 24, 2019
Journal Nature Communications
Electronic ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Article Number 1851
Public URL
Publisher URL


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