Calciocarbonatite and magnesiocarbonatite rocks and magmas represented in the system CaO-MgO-CO2-H2O at 0.2 GPa

Research paper by W. -J. Lee, M. F. Fanelli, N. Cava, P. J. Wyllie

Indexed on: 01 Apr '00Published on: 01 Apr '00Published in: Mineralogy and Petrology


¶The low-pressure eutectic for the coprecipitation of calcite, portlandite, and periclase/brucite (with H2O-rich vapor) has served as a model for the existence and crystallization of carbonatite magmas. Attempts to determine conditions for the appearance of dolomite at this eutectic have been unsuccessful. We have discovered a second low-temperature eutectic for more magnesian liquids which excludes portlandite and includes dolomite (all results are vapor-saturated). Addition of Ca(OH)2-Mg(OH)2 to CaCO3-MgCO3 at 0.2 GPa depresses the liquidus to temperatures below the crest of the calcite-dolomite solvus; the vapor-saturated liquidus surface falls steeply, and the field boundary for liquids coexisting with calcite and periclase reaches a peritectic at 880 °C, where a narrow field for liquidus dolomite begins, extending down to the eutectic at 659 °C for the coprecipitation of calcite, dolomite and periclase (brucite should replace periclase at slightly higher pressures). The calcite liquidus is very large. The field boundary for coexistence of calcite and dolomite extends approximately in the direction from CaMg(CO3)2 towards Mg(OH)2. The results illustrate conditions for the formation of mineral-specific cumulates from variable magma compositions. Hydrous (or sodic) carbonate-rich liquids with compositions from CaCO3 to CaMg(CO3)2 will precipitate calcite-carbonatites first, followed by calcite-dolomite-carbonatites, with the prospect of precipitating dolomite-carbonatite alone through a limited temperature interval, and with periclase joining the assemblage in the closing stages. Periclase in the Fe-free system may represent the ubiquitous occurrence of magnetite in natural carbonatites. The restricted range for the precipitation of dolomite-carbonatites adds credibility to the evidence for primary magnesiocarbonatite (near-dolomite composition) magmas. Magnesiocarbonatite magmas can precipitate much calcite-carbonatite rock.