Since its introduction in 1956, the term "protodolomite" has been frequently used and frequently abused. "Protodolomite" is herein more rigorously defined as those metastable single-phase rhombohedral carbonates which deviate from the composition of the dolomite that is stable in a given environment, or are imperfectly ordered, or both, but which possess a high degree of cation-order as evidenced by the unambiguous presence of order reflections in diffraction patterns. Protodolomite appears to be an intermediate phase in the dolomitization of calcium carbonate, both in experimental and in many natural systems.

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