The system CaO-MgO-SiO2-CO2 at 1 GPa, metasomatic wehrlites, and primary carbonatite magmas

Research paper by W. J. Lee, P. J. Wyllie

Indexed on: 01 Mar '00Published on: 01 Mar '00Published in: Contributions to mineralogy and petrology. Beitrage zur Mineralogie und Petrologie


New experimental data in CaO-MgO-SiO2-CO2 at 1 GPa define the vapor-saturated silicate-carbonate liquidus field boundary involving primary minerals calcite, forsterite and diopside. The eutectic reaction for melting of model calcite (1% MC)-wehrlite at 1 GPa is at 1100 °C, with liquid composition (by weight) 72% CaCO3 (CC), 9% MgCO3 (MC), and 18% CaMgSi2O6 (Di). These data combined with previous results permit construction of the isotherm-contoured vapor-saturated liquidus surface for the calcite/dolomite field, and part of the adjacent forsterite and diopside fields. Nearly pure calcite crystals in mantle xenoliths cannot represent equilibrium liquids. We recently determined the complete vapor-saturated liquidus surface between carbonates and model peridotites at 2.7 GPa; the peritectic reaction for dolomite (25% MC)-wehrlite at 2.7 GPa occurs at 1300 °C, with liquid composition 60% CC, 29% MC, and 11% Di. The liquidus field boundaries on these two surfaces provide the road-map for interpretation of magmatic processes in various peridotite-CO2 systems at depths between the Moho and about 100 km. Relationships among kimberlites, melilitites, carbonatites and the liquidus phase boundaries are discussed. Experimental data for carbonatite liquid protected by metasomatic wehrlite have been reported. The liquid trends directly from dolomitic towards CaCO3 with decreasing pressure. The 1.5 GPa liquid contains 87% CC and 4% Di, much lower in silicate components than our phase boundary. However, the liquids contain approximately the same CaCO3 (90 ± 1 wt%) in terms of only carbonate components. For CO2-bearing mantle, all magmas at depth must pass through initial dolomitic compositions. Rising dolomitic carbonatite melt will vesiculate and may erupt as primary magmas through cracks from about ˜70 km. If it percolates through metasomatic wehrlite from 70 km toward the Moho at 35–40 km, primary calcic siliceous carbonatite magma can be generated with silicate content at least 11–18% (70–40 km) on the silicate-carbonate boundary.