Geothermal convection of seawater deep in carbonate platforms could provide the necessary supply of magnesium for dolomitization at temperatures high enough to overcome kinetic limitations. We used reactive-transport simulations to predict the rates and spatial patterns of dolomitization during geothermal convection in a platform that was 40 km across and 2 km thick. In the simulations, porosity and permeability decrease with depth to account for sediment compaction. Dolomitization of a platform consisting of medium grained (???0.05 mm) sediments occurred in a broad band ranging from ???2.5 km depth near the margin to ???1.5 km depth near the platform center. The area of dolomitization is deep enough that temperatures exceed ???50??C but not so deep that low permeabilities restrict mass transport. Complete dolomitization in the center of this zone is estimated to require at least 60 my. Incorporation of permeability contrasts, permeable beds, and reactive beds focused dolomitization strongly and reduced the estimated time required for dolomitization by as much as 50 percent. Dolomitization created magnesium-depleted, calcium-rich fluids in less than 10 ky, and results support a link between dolomitization and anhydrite precipitation where adequate sulfate is available.
Additional publication details
Spatial patterns of diagenesis during geothermal circulation in carbonate platforms