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Bedded dolomites in the Permian Basin were formed by the alteration of metastable limestones by hypersaline brines refluxing from evaporate lagoons. The hot, heavy, highly alkaline, carbon dioxide-free, magnesium-supercharged brines displaced connate waters to provide both a chemically favorable environment for magnesium-calcium exchange and a vehicle for removing displaced calcium. Fossil lagoonal brines and fillings of halite and anhydrite in the dolomite pores offer proof of the brine invasion. Sedimentary dolomites in other areas are commonly associated with evaporites, and for these dolomites a similar origin is postulated.
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