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Diagenetic histories of carbonate rocks are being deciphered mostly with the aid of textural criteria (e.g. Bathurst, 1975). Chemical critena are usually considered to be supplementary parameters only. The major stumbling block for wider utilization of chemical criteria is the lack of familiarity with these techniques as well as the absence of generalized theory which could be applied to quantification of chemical processes leading to diagenetic stabilization of carbonate sediments.

The fundamental principles and applications of stable isotopes have been discussed in the previous chapters in this text. These exaniples demonstrated the advantages as well as limitations of the approach. The conclusions based on stable isotopes are, as for any other tool, frequently not unique. In such a case, it is to our advantage to possess such a complementary tool capable of focusing the choice of available options. Such a complementary tool is the trace element technique.

A carbonate mineral, whether calcite, aragonite or dolomite contains, in addition to and, a plethora of trace elements (Sr. Ba, Mg, Mn, Fe, Zn, etc.) and radiogenic isotopes. In this contribution, I shall try to outline the underlying theoretical principles and the examples of application of trace elements to diagenetic studies. The contribution is not intended to be a review of all previous work related to the subject, but rather to represent a documentation of a specific approach, namely that developed by the author and associates for solution of problems tractable for this technique.

Calcium carbonate minerals, fossils and sediments

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