MAGNESIAN CALCITE AS A PALEOENVIRONMENTAL INDICATOR
A positive linear correlation (R2=0.9302) was observed between mol % Mg in the overgrowth and Mg/Ca(aq) ratio while no dependence was observed on PCO2, solid/solution ratio or precipitation rate. This suggests Mg/Ca(aq) ratio is the principal factor controlling the Mg-content of calcite. Nevertheless, D values varied by a factor of two over the range of Mg/Ca(aq) values investigated and this hampers the predictive capability of this geochemical proxy.
Previous work has shown that the structural attributes of growing crystals can lead to differential Mg incorporation in calcite. To test for this effect, eleven chemo-stat experiments were run under identical physicochemical conditions for various lengths of time (1 to 100 h) to determine if overgrowth % or crystal morphology/habit influence the incorporation of Mg in calcite. Distribution coefficients decreased systematically and crystal forms evolved from complex multifaceted rhombohedra to regular (104) forms as the overgrowth % decreased. At ~5% overgrowth, (104) rhombohedra displayed smooth faces with few to no macro-steps and D values increased again. These results suggest the incorporation of Mg in calcite is complex and may be influenced by both surface properties and crystal form but additional work is required to confirm these findings.