Developing an Integrated Petrogenetic Model for Understanding REE Deportment of the Ampasibitika Intrusion and Associated Ion Adsorption Deposits

Eva Marquis, Kathryn M. Goodenough, Martin Smith, Guillaume Estrade, Fetra Rasolonirina, Rocky Lowell Rakotoson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alkaline–peralkaline igneous systems are promising sources of rare earth elements (REEs). Preservation bias has resulted in a gap in the geological record for alkaline–peralkaline magmatic systems, with the hypabyssal plumbing system linking magma chambers to extrusive volcanic rocks poorly represented. Large plutonic varieties of these systems are often proposed to have fed (now eroded) volcanoes, and current peralkaline volcanic systems obscure the plutonic system at depth. The alkaline to peralkaline Ampasibitika Intrusion in Madagascar is a rare example where the magmatic–volcanic interface between a deeper level magma reservoir and its genetically related caldera volcano is exposed. This c. 24 Ma sub-volcanic intrusive system comprises silica-undersaturated to silica-oversaturated units, of peralkaline to metaluminous and peraluminous characters, with varying styles of REE mineralisation, including supergene ion adsorption-style REE occurrences in the overlying weather profiles. There are two main intrusive suites: (1) the concentric Marginal Dyke Swarm (MDS) formed of quartz–microsyenite and peralkaline granite dykes (PGDs), and (2) the Ampasibitika Ring Dyke (ARD) comprising alkali feldspar syenites and subordinate nepheline syenites, trachytes and phonolites. We present new field observations and geochemical data to indicate that the MDS was emplaced as a series of low-viscosity, volatile-rich melt batches, which coalesced in the magma reservoir roof zone and intruded prior to caldera collapse, whereas the ARD was emplaced into the ring fault as a heterogeneous mix of variably evolved syenitic crystal mushes and phonolitic to trachytic-melt batches. As such, we suggest the MDS represents the residual melt fraction of the magma reservoir, whereas the ARD contains portions of the fractionating, silica-neutral to silica-undersaturated syenite, cumulate assemblage. In this revised framework, we assess the major and trace element geochemistry of amphibole- and clinopyroxene-group minerals to gain insight into the magmatic evolution of the Ampasibitika Intrusion and partitioning of REE between early cumulate and residual melt phases. Ultimately, the most REE-enriched units, the PGDs of the MDS, are identified as the product of the most volatile-rich, highly evolved melts from the roof zone of the magma reservoir. However, although REE enriched, the mineralogy does not always enable efficient release of REE for ion adsorption-style mineralisation; instead, lower REE-content protoliths with REE-host phases more amenable to decomposition release a greater proportion of REE.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberegad046
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Petrology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Rocky Lowell Rakotoson and Fetra Rasolonirina are thanked for their invaluable assistance in organising fieldwork and field expertise in Madagascar. Tantalus Rare Earths AG provided assistance with field logistics and access to the drill core. Pete Lyons and Dr Magda Grove provided assistance and support in the development of ICP-MS procedures at the University of Brighton. Joe Pickles and Gavyn Rollinson enabled access and provided assistance in the collection of EMP dataset at the Chemical, Imaging and Mineralogical Facility (CIMF), Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter. The British Geological Survey’s Charles Gowning and John Wheeler provided access and assistance to the BGS rock crushing facilities; Gren Turner, Alicja Lacinska and Jeremy Rushton provided assistance and expertise for SEM imagery collection; and Simon Chenery provided assistance and expertise during the collection of LA-ICP-MS datasets. This paper is a product of the SoS RARE project, which is funded by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council under grant agreement no. NE/M011429/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press.


  • REE deposits
  • Alkaline complex
  • Madagascar
  • Hypabyssal
  • Intracontinental rift


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