Carbonatite Magmas

M. J. Le Bas
Department of Geology, University of Leicester, LE1 7RH

Abstract: Normal carbonatite magmas are characteristically associated with ijolites and produce extensive fenitization by alkali metasomatism, commonly feldspathization or phlogopitization. The sequence of carbonatites developed from this magma are characterized by igneous isotopic ratios, high contents of incompatible elements, their distinctive pattern of differentiation from sövite to beforsite, and a late-stage rare-earth element, baryte, fluorite mineralization. Carbonatite rock is composed mainly of calcite, but fluid inclusion and related data indicate that the original magma was highly alkaline and chemically similar to that known at Oldoinyo Lengai volcano in Tanzania. It is suggested that this carbonatite magma is secondary magma produced from carbonated nephelinite magma by liquid immiscibility. Carbonatite magma can also occur associated with kimberlites but these carbonatites are alkali-poor and do not produce the characteristic fenitization.

Mineralogical Magazine; June 1981 v. 44; no. 334; p. 133-140; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1981.044.334.02
© 1981, The Mineralogical Society
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