Dissolution of Carbonate Rocks in a Laboratory Setting: Rates and Textures

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Natural Sciences




Determining the dissolution rates of carbonate rocks is vital to advancing our understanding of cave, karst, and landscape processes. Furthermore, the role of carbonate dissolution is important for the global carbon budget and climate change. A laboratory experiment was setup to calculate the dissolution rates of two whole rock carbonate samples with different petrographic makeup (ooids and brachiopods). The carbonate rock samples were also explored under a scanning electron microscope to evaluate the textures that developed after dissolution The oolitic limestone dissolved at a rate of 1579 cm yr−1, and the pentamerous limestone (dolostone) dissolved at a rate of 799 cm yr−1. Both rocks did not dissolve evenly across their surface as indicated by scanning electron microscopy, it appears the allochems dissolved preferentially to the matrix/cement of the rocks and that some mechanical weathering happened as well. This work reports that the petrography and mineralogy of carbonate rocks is important to consider when exploring the cave, karst, and landscape evolution and that attention should be paid to the petrography of carbonate rocks when considering the global carbon budget.

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