The role of carbonate-fluoride melt immiscibility in shallow REE deposit evolution

Jindrich Kynicky, Martin Smith, Wenlei Song, Anton R. Chakhmouradian, Xu Cheng, Antonin Kopriva, Michaela Galiova, Martin Brtnicky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Lugiin Gol nepheline syenite intrusion, Mongolia, hosts a range of carbonatite dikes mineralized in rare-earth elements (REE). Both carbonatites and nepheline syenite-fluoritecalcite veinlets are host to a previously unreported macroscale texture involving pseudographic intergrowths of fluorite and calcite. The inclusions within calcite occur as either pure fluorite, with associated REE minerals within the surrounding calcite, or as mixed calcitefluorite inclusions, with associated zirconosilicate minerals. Consideration of the nature of the texture, and the proportions of fluorite and calcite present (~29 and 71 mol%, respectively), indicates that these textures most likely formed either through the immiscible separation of carbonate and fluoride melts, or from cotectic crystallization of a carbonatefluoride melt. Laser ablation ICP-MS analyses show the pure fluorite inclusions to be depleted in REE relative to the calcite. A model is proposed, in which a carbonate-fluoride melt phase enriched in Zr and the REE, separated from a phonolitic melt, and then either unmixed or underwent cotectic crystallization to generate an REE-rich carbonate melt and an REE-poor fluoride phase. The separation of the fluoride phase (either solid or melt) may have contributed to the enrichment of the carbonate melt in REE, and ultimately its saturation with REE minerals. Previous data have suggested that carbonate melts separated from silicate melts are relatively depleted in the REE, and thus melt immiscibility cannot result in the formation of REE-enriched carbonatites. The observations presented here provide a mechanism by which this could occur, as under either model the textures imply initial separation of a mixed carbonate-fluoride melt from a silicate magma. The separation of an REE-enriched carbonate-fluoride melt from phonolitic magma is a hitherto unrecognized mechanism for REE-enrichment in carbonatites, and may play an important role in the formation of shallow magmatic REE deposits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-537
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2018

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© 2018, China University of Geosciences (Beijing) and Peking University. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


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