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The AGI may be hung up on tradition and precedence and therefore wish to perpetuate ambiguity by the dual use of dolomite. However, I see no reason for wikipedia to confuse readers and prefer dolostone for the rock. Vsmith 01:03, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

After some searching, I find no evidence to support the AGI statement about dolostone. So I have removed the bit here pending a reference:

The term dolostone was introduced in 1948 to avoid confusion with the mineral dolomite. The usage of dolostone is controversial because the word dolomite was first applied to the rock during the early nineteenth century and thus has precedence. Although use of the term dolostone avoids ambiguity, it is not recommended by the tradition bound American Geological Institute.

I find AGI publications using the term dolostone and therefore am dubious about the not reccommended statement. Vsmith 01:45, 20 August 2005 (UTC)


This may seem rather petty but the term “dolostone” is not recommended for the rock composed largely of the mineral dolomite. The American Geological Institute recommends that the term “dolomite” be used for both the rock and the mineral (Jackson, 1997). This is the opinion also of most European geologists and most specialists in carbonate sedimentology and petrology (see for instance Bathurst, 1971; Tucker and Wright, 1990; and see especially Zenger and Mazzullo, 1982, page 1). The term “dolomite” actually has priority for the rock. The mineral dolomite had already been described and was termed “pearl spar” when the rock, dolomite, was first described by Deodat Guy de Dolomieu in 1791 (see the discussion by Vatan, 1958).

I must also point out that Harvey Blatt (author of the text cited by Vsmith) is a sandstone petrologist, not a specialist on carbonate rocks, Bob Tracy, the co-author, is an igneous petrologist and did not write the section of the text referred. The authors cited above, with the exception of Jackson, are all carbonate petrologists and sedimentologists. Don Zenger is one of the world's foremost specialists on dolomite.

The American Geological Institute is a dynamic organization, supported by almost all practicing geologists in the United States through their numerous professional societies. They certainly are not "hung up on tradition and precedence".

Finally, I would humbly submit that I am also considered a specialist on dolomite with numerous scholarly publications to my credit on the subject. I am new to Wikipedia but I will try to post my bio and credentials shortly.

Bathurst, R. G. C., 1975, Carbonate sediments and their diagenesis: New York, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co., 658 p.

Jackson, J. A., 1997, Glossary of geology, Fourth edition: Alexandra, VA, American Geological Institute, 769 p.

Tucker, M. E., and Wright, V. P., 1990, Carbonate Sedimentology: Boston, Blackwell Scientific Publications, 482 p.

Vatan, A., 1958, "Dolostone": Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 28, p. 514.

Zenger, D. H., and Mazzullo, S. J., eds., 1982, Dolomitization: Stroudsburg, Hutchinson Ross Publishing Co., 426 p.

The word is widely used in the geological community (including AGI publications) and it avoids ambiguity and confusion. Usage and clarity are the guide, not semantic quibbles by specialists. Vsmith 04:51, 21 August 2005 (UTC)


I have made several minor editorial changes to the last editorial changes of VSmith, perhaps a compromise is in order. I believe that it is inappropriate to consider Geotimes a scientific publication although it is published by AGI. It is a designed to be a popular news magazine for geologists and those interested in geology. It is not a scientific journal and is almost never referenced in the scientific literature. The Glossary of Geology, another AGI Publication, is frequently cited in the formal literature and is generally regarded as a source of scientific authority (as far as there is any authority in science). AGI publishes no scholarly journals but its constituent societies do.

In the future, unless completely thwarted by my rather overwhelming workload, I would like to edit a number of articles that have to do with, in particular, carbonate rocks and perhaps contribute a few additional articles on geology. Pro bono publico! Jay Gregg 11:39 21 August, 2005

Frequent Use[edit]

After reading the discussion here I decided to do a bit of quick reconaissance on the use of the term.

From the AAPG online scientific paper search database (which searches over 14 peer reviewed geological publications):

780 out of ~70,000 items (articles and published abstracts) use the term Dolostone. Of which 271 items are exclusive uses (the word dolomite does not appear). Out of the 271 exclusive uses of the term Dolostone, 81 are published abstracts. From those 81 published abstracts, 3 were publised as a full length article (in one ot the journals searched, of course).

On the other hand, the word dolomite occurs in 9360 papers, of which 8830 are exclusive uses. Out of the 8830 exlusive uses for the term dolomite, 1750 are publised abstracts. Of the 1750 published abstracts 233 were later published as full papers (in the journals the database searched). As an interesting aside, 5946 of the 8830 items do not include the word mineral at all, 3552 of which are full papers.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions. Semantic battle aside, I cannot agree with the adverb "frequently" as a modifier to the appearance of the term dolostone in geologic literature. It's use is, at best, infrequent.

--RW, fellow geologist


A nice bit of research by RW and I imagine that similar results would be obtained for "Journal of Sedimentary Research" and "Sedimentology", so I must agree with RW on this issue. I believe that the word "frequently" was incerted at the insistance of VSmith. What about it VSmith? Can we drop the word "frequently?" Jay Gregg 15:46, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

I'm not locked in to the frequently term (such a quantitative term) - dolostone is used by a significant number of researcher. Also need a bit of analysis - the 8830 exlusive uses for the term dolomite - were these articles about the rock or about the mineral? The dual use of the word leads to more confusion - and I like to avoid being confused. Vsmith 16:06, 26 August 2005 (UTC)


RW points out that the word "mineral" does not appear in the majority of these publications. Typically AAPG references to dolomite concern the rock as dolomite is an important reservoir rock. Also, AAPG Bulletin usually does not publish mineralogical articles. Jay Gregg 21:53, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Explanation of Frequent Use[edit]

I dropped back by to answer some questions.

I didn't read the articles on dolomite that excluded the use of the word mineral (descriptions of dolomite the mineral in journal articles usually go something like this, "the mineral dolomite" although I think it is safe to assume they discuss the rock dolomite specifically. There is also no guarantee that articles that include the words "mineral" and "dolomite" discuss the mineral dolomite. In fact, only 57 articles contain the string "mineral dolomite." So any other investigations to the words' use would require a lot of reading that simply isn't necessary.

Another interesting search is one of our companies (and a few others we've acquired over the years) internal non-published research: no documented uses of the word dolostone at all. Incidentally, it is the largest library of non-published, proprietary geologic research in the world.

I'm not trying to come down on one side or the other here. I personally don't get upset over dolostones use (if it helps non professionals and new learners, great!). However, I think that the context of the word dolomite when it is used in literature is so unambiguous that I find it puzzling that some geologists believe it causes confusion--I don't think that is entirely true. I can see it causing a bit of a headache when searching for specific contextual uses of the word (as I have done) but that situation is unlikely.

While the term is used by some geologists, I think the disclaimer on its use is entirely appropriate and I'm glad it was placed there. Thank you, Dr. Gregg.