Abstract

The structure of dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2, was determined from 298 to 1466 K at a constant pressure of about 3 GPa using in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction data to investigate the state of disorder. An order parameter s, defined as 2 xCa − 1, varies from s = 1 (where xCa = 1) for a completely ordered dolomite to s = 0 (where xCa = 0.5) for a completely disordered dolomite. On heating, there is no measured change in s until the temperature is high enough to cause exchange of Ca2+ and Mg2+ cations. Significant disorder began to occur at about 1234 K [s = 0.83(1)] and increases along a smooth pathway to T = 1466 K [s = 0.12(5)]. The R3̅ ↔ Rc transition in dolomite is described by a modified Bragg-Williams thermodynamic model with the following molar free energy of disorder, d (T; s) = RTc[1 − s2 + ½ a(s4 − 1) − (T/Tc) {2 ln2 − (1+s) ln(1 + s) − (1 − s) ln(1 − s)}]. Using Tc = 1466 K and a = −0.29, this model provides an excellent agreement with experimental data. Moreover, the maximum enthalpy of disorder, d(s = 0) = RTc(1 − ½ a) ∼ 14 kJ/mol, agrees with published calorimetric data. A thermodynamic description of the aragonite + magnesite ↔ dolomite reaction boundary is also presented and it reproduces the main qualitative features correctly.

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