Th-rich Loparite from the Khibina Alkaline Complex, Kola Peninsula: Isomorphism and Paragenesis

Roger H. Mitchell and Anton R. Chakhmouradian
Department of Geology, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7B 5E1, Canada

Abstract: Th-rich (up to 18.4 wt.% ThO2) loparite occurs as an accessory phase in foyaite pegmatites at Mt. Eveslogchorr, Khibina complex, Russia. It is associated with aegirine, astrophyllite, eudialyte, lorenzenite, lamprophyllite, magnesio-arfvedsonite and gerasimovskite. Loparite crystals are zoned from niobian loparite (core) to niobian thorian and thorian niobian loparite (rim). Th-enrichment is accompanied by a decrease in Na, LREE, Sr and increase in A-site vacancies. The most Th-rich composition approaches (Na0.39LREE0.19Th0.12Ca0.05Sr0.02)Σ0.77(Ti0.76Nb0.27)Σ1.03O3. The mineral is partly or completely metamict and after annealing gives an X-ray diffraction powder pattern similar to that of synthetic NaLaTi2O6 and naturally occurring loparite of different composition. For the Th-rich rim sample, the five strongest diffraction lines (Å) are: 2.72 (100) 110, 1.575 (60) 211, 1.925 (40), 1.368 (30) 220, 1.222 (20) 310; a = 3.867(2) Å. The X-ray diffraction patterns do not exhibit peak splitting or other diffraction lines typical of low-symmetry and ordered perovskite-type structures. Composition determinations, infrared transmission spectroscopy and X-ray diffractometry show that thorian loparite is partly replaced by betafite with LREE and Th as dominant A-site cations (‘ceriobetafite’). Some loparite samples also exhibit thin replacement mantles of belyankinite with high LREE2O3 and ThO2 contents. Both ‘ceriobetafite’ and belyankinite were formed due to metasomatic alteration of loparite.

Keywords: loparite • betafite • belyankinite • nepheline-syenite pegmatite • Khibina alkaline complex • Kola Peninsula • Russia

Mineralogical Magazine; June 1998 v. 62; no. 3; p. 341-353; DOI: 10.1180/002646198547738
© 1998, The Mineralogical Society
Mineralogical Society (