Dolomitization of Triassic microbial mat deposits (Hungary): Origin of microcrystalline dolomite

Kinga Hips, János Haas, Zsófia Poros, Sándor Kele, Tamás Budai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


Dolomite most commonly forms via replacement of precursor carbonate minerals. For this reason, diagnosing primarily precipitated organogenic dolomite in microbial mat deposits from the rock record is not straightforward, even though the deposits exhibit microbial fabric. Single and multiple dolomite crusts exhibiting microbial fabric occur in a pervasively dolomitized Middle Triassic platform succession. Two sections were studied in the Transdanubian Range. In both sections, two fabric types occur in the upper part of the metre-scale cycles. One of that is microbial boundstone (fabric type 1)-characterised by clusters of dolomite microcrystals which display diagnostic microbial features, such as calcimicrobes, clotted-spherular aggregates and globules. The other one is different in the two sections. In Section 1, it is micritic dolomite (fabric type 2) that is characterised by predominantly fine crystals and contains obscured microbial components. In Section 2, it is bioclastic dolomite (fabric type 3) that is rich in reworked dasycladalean alga fragments and consists of dolomite crystals of wide size-range from fine to coarse. The precipitation of the microcrystalline dolomite phase is interpreted as being facilitated by mats and biofilms favouring/tolerating an increasing frequency of subaerial conditions in the upper intertidal setting. Petrographic analyses revealed that organogenic calcite was also precipitated, especially in mat deposits rich in bioclasts. Synsedimentary dolomitization, resulting in fine crystals, was coupled with aragonite dissolution and it postdated the organogenic precipitation. It took place only in the peritidal caps of the shallowing-upward depositional units. Petrographic analyses provide circumstantial evidence constraining that microcrystalline dolomite did not form via mimetic replacement. Accordingly the microcrystalline dolomite, which shows microbial microfabrics in the studied samples, is interpreted as an organogenic primary precipitate. Both peritidal processes, dolomite precipitation and replacement, were likely controlled by the environmental factors in a semi-arid climate. Those components of the platform succession that were not dolomitized in the peritidal environment were replaced and cemented by medium and coarsely crystalline dolomite during further burial at elevated temperature, as shown by fluid inclusion homogenisation temperature (62 to 83. °C) and negative stable oxygen isotope values. Thus, the majority of the studied formation consists of fabric-destructive dolomite (fabric type 4).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-129
Number of pages17
JournalSedimentary Geology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Fluid inclusions
  • Microbial microfabric
  • Organogenic dolomite
  • Stable carbon and oxygen isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy

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