Science, Tech, Math › Science Carbonate Definition and Examples Share Flipboard Email Print Seven Sisters Cliffs in East Sussex consist of chalk, which is calcium carbonate. Tim Grist Photography / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated January 15, 2020 In chemistry, a carbonate is an ion consisting of one carbon and three oxygen atoms or a compound that contains this species as its anion. The molecular formula for the carbonate ion is CO32-. Alternatively, the term may be used as a verb referring to the process of carbonation. In carbonation, the concentration of bicarbonate and carbonate ions in an aqueous solution is increased to yield carbonated water. Carbonation is performed by introducing pressurized carbon dioxide gas or by dissolving carbonate or bicarbonate salts. In geology, carbonates include carbonate rock and minerals, which contain the carbonate ion. The most common is calcium carbonate, CaCO3, which is found in limestone and dolomite. Sources Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carbonates." Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2005). Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 2005). Cambridge (UK): RSC–IUPAC. ISBN 0-85404-438-8.