Comparison of ultrastructures in Pliocene periplatform carbonates from the Bahamas with Silurian limestones from Gotland (Sweden) reveals that despite the differences in primary sediment composition and age, they reflect a similar mechanism of lithification. In both sequences calcite microspar was formed as a primary cement at an early stage of marine burial diagenesis. Neither significant compression nor meteoric influence are necessary for the formation of calcite microspar. A model is proposed for the process of microsparitic cementation of fine-grained aragonite needle muds comprising four stages: (1) unconsolidated, aragonite-dominated carbonate mud; (2) precipitation of microspar that engulfs aragonite needles; (3) dissolution of aragonite, resulting in pitted surfaces of the microspar crystals; and (4) slight recrystallization. Our results contradict the widespread opinion that microspar necessarily is a product of secondary recrystallization of a previously lithified micrite.