dolomite (dōˈləmītˌ, dŏlˈə–). 1 Mineral, calcium magnesium carbonate, CaMg (CO3)2. It is commonly crystalline and is white, gray, brown, or reddish in color with a vitreous to pearly luster. The magnesium is sometimes replaced in part by iron or manganese. 2 Carbonate rock composed chiefly of the mineral dolomite, similar to limestone but somewhat harder and heavier. The rock may be metamorphosed into dolomitic marble. Most dolomites probably originated from the partial replacement of the calcium in limestone by magnesium. Its chief uses are as a building stone, for the manufacture of refractory furnace linings, and as basic magnesium carbonate for pipe coverings. Formations of dolomite are very widespread (occurring in Europe, the United States, Africa, Brazil, and Mexico) and notably in the region of the Alps now called the Dolomites, where the rock was first studied by Dolomieu.
Dolomites or Dolomite Alps, Alpine group, N Italy, between the Isarco and Piave rivers, named for the dolomitic limestone of which it is composed. Famous for their strikingly bold outline (a stairstep effect created by erosion of alternate layers of soft and hard rock) and for their vivid colors at sunrise and sunset, the Dolomites are ideal for mountain climbing and skiing. Hydroelectricity is produced in the Dolomites. The Marmolada (10,964 ft/3,342 m), the highest peak, has glaciers. Cortina d'Ampezzo and other resorts are among the major tourist centers of Italy.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
a mountain massif in the eastern Alps, in northeastern Italy. Length, 120 km; highest point (Mount Marmolada), 3,342 m. Its axial zone is mainly composed of dolomites and limestones, which form steep cliffs and oddly shaped summits. There are neve basins and glaciers, as well as mountain meadows and, on the lower slopes, pine and deciduous forests. It is a popular place for tourists, with re-sorts at Cortina d’Ampezzo and elsewhere.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.