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Variegated Dolomite

The term dolomite is commonly utilized to refer both to a common sedimentary rock-forming mineral and to the rocks in which the mineral is present in significant quantities. In order to help eliminate confusion caused by such a nomenclature system, the moniker dolostone is becoming an increasingly popular way to refer to dolomite-containing rocks.

Similar to limestones, dolomite rocks are sometimes referred to as marble even if they have not undergone metamorphism, which is considered an essential occurrence for the formation of true marbles in a geological sense of the word. The reason for this seemingly erratic usage of terminology is that dolomite is a predominantly carbonate rock that takes a good shine when polished. This fact, along with its hardness and occurrence in a variety of colors and beautiful variegated forms, enables the rock to be readily utilized as an ornamental stone, as is true, metamorphosed marble. An example of dolomite used in this manner is the popular Tennessee marble, a coarsely crystalline form of the rock that has not endured metamorphism.

Dolomite was first studied by French mineralogist Deodat de Dolomieu, for whom the rock is named. Found around the world, formations of dolomite are relatively common and are often expansive in size. Indeed, dolomite is the dominant material in an entire region of the Alps, which is now appropriately known as the Dolomites. Other notable occurrences of the rock are located in the United States, Brazil, Africa, and Mexico. In addition to ornamental and building purposes, dolomite is often utilized in the production of furnace linings and pipe casings.


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