The %Ca (molar Ca/(Ca + Mg) × 100) in sedimentary dolomite, which ranges from 48 %Ca to 62.5 %Ca, can be determined by atomic absorption spectrometry, electron microprobe analysis, or powder X-ray diffraction analysis. The latter procedure, which relies on the fact that the position of the d104 reflection depends linearly on the Ca content, offers an easy and relatively inexpensive method of determining %Ca in dolomite. To date, such analyses have assumed that the dolostone is homogeneous with respect to the %Ca content of its constituent dolomite crystals. Herein, the XRD technique is extended to compositionally heterogeneous dolostones.

A considerable amount of important information can be derived from X-ray diffractograms of dolostones if they are analyzed with peak-fitting techniques (PF-XRD). Specifically, this technique allows (1) determination of the %Ca with an accuracy of ± 0.5 %Ca, (2) identification of heterogeneous dolostone samples formed of more than one population of dolomite crystals as defined by their %Ca content, and (3) derivation of the proportion of each population of dolomite crystals with an accuracy of ± 10%. The PF-XRD technique is a powerful analytical tool that provides valuable information on the major-element composition of low-Fe dolomite. Compared to other techniques, the PF-XRD technique is accurate, rapid, relatively inexpensive, and easy to use.

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