Carbon dating geology carbon dating if world was surrounded by water


03-Oct-2015 05:34

This one-way process is a major driver of the geological carbon cycle.

Sometimes a crystal of one mineral converts to the other mineral while preserving its original shape as a pseudomorph: it may look like a typical calcite knob or aragonite needle, but the petrographic microscope shows its true nature.

Many geologists, for most purposes, don't need to know the correct polymorph and just talk about "carbonate." Most of the time, the carbonate in rocks is calcite.

Calcium carbonate chemistry is more complicated when it comes to understanding which polymorph will crystallize out of solution.

This process is common in nature, because neither mineral is highly soluble, and the presence of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO in the middle of this chemical chain pretty much has no choice but to precipitate as a mineral that can't dissolve quickly and return to the water.

(Another example is the trio of kyanite, andalusite and sillimanite.) Aragonite has an orthorhombic structure and calcite a trigonal structure (the Mindat site can help you visualize these for aragonite and for calcite).

My gallery of carbonate minerals covers the basics of both minerals from the rockhound's viewpoint: how to identify them, where they're found, some of their peculiarities.

These are led by calcium carbonate, which takes two mineral forms named calcite and aragonite.

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Calcite is more stable in general than aragonite, although as temperatures and pressures change one of the two minerals may convert to the other.

At surface conditions, aragonite spontaneously turns into calcite over geologic time, but at higher pressures aragonite, the denser of the two, is the preferred structure. At surface pressure, aragonite can't endure temperatures above around 400°C for long.



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