Japan Geoscience Union Meeting 2018

Presentation information

[EJ] Oral

S (Solid Earth Sciences) » S-RD Resources, Mineral Deposit & Resource Exploration

[S-RD33] Resource Geology

Wed. May 23, 2018 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM A11 (Tokyo Bay Makuhari Hall)

convener:Tsubasa Otake(Division of Sustainable Resources Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University), Daisuke Araoka(Geological Survey of Japan, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), Ryohei Takahashi(秋田大学大学院国際資源学研究科, 共同), Tatsuo Nozaki(Research and Development Center for Submarine Resources, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), Chairperson:Araoka Daisuke, Otake Tsubasa(Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University)

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

[SRD33-08] The role of multi-stage process on REE enrichment in Kangankunde carbonatites, Malawi

Chikanda Frances1, Tsubasa Otake1, *Yoko Ohtomo1, Tsutomu Sato1 (1.Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University)

Keywords:Kangankunde, Malawi, carbonatite, Rare Earth Element, carbon isotope, oxygen isotope

Rare earth element (REE) are critical metals for several high-performance materials in modern industry, especially utilized for green technology. Carbonatites, volcanic rocks enriched in the REE, are focused on as REE sources especially during recent years since the security of supply is crucial in changing international relationships. Previous studies indicate that the REEs in carbonatites are re-distributed during post-magmatic processes, however, the nature of the respective processes to REE enrichment has not been well understood. Here, we performed geological, petrological and geochemical investigations of the Kangankunde carbonatite complex, which is the largest deposit of the Chilwa Alkaline province in Malawi. The complex is enriched in light rare earth elements (LREES) with up to 7.8 wt% REE content and preserve signatures of carbonatitic magma crystallization followed by subsequent post-magmatic alteration, hence providing a good platform for understanding REE enrichment process during the carbonatite evolution.

Main units of the Kangankunde carbonatite complex are Mn- and REE-rich carbonatites which are concentrated on the center part of the complex, whereas dolomite carbonatite, carbonatite agglomerate, quartz-rich and apatite-rich carbonatites irregularly occur as veins mostly in the outer zone. Field observation indicates that earlier carbonatites were notably cut through by later (carbothermal) fluids, suggesting multiple and complex post-magmatic process occurence. Sampling was carried out in the different lithological units of the complex. X-ray diffraction analysis and petrographic observations indicate that the most abundant REE-bearing mineral is monazite, whereas bastnaesite and synchysite were observed as minor components. Scanning electron microscope observation indicates that some monazite shows well developed ~100 µm crystalline structure with porous and non-porous structures inside and outside crystals respectively, commonly occurring along dolomite edges, whereas others are observed as polycrystalline monazite. Back scatter images of ~100 µm monazite show elemental zoning between core and rim. The rim shows Nd-rich and La-poor compositions compared to core, suggesting that monazite growth would occur under at least two alteration stages. Bulk isotopic analysis of carbon and oxygen indicates that the δ13C and δ18O ranged from −4.79 ‰ to −0.13 ‰ and 14.21 ‰ to 29.48 ‰ respectively. Part of REE-poor samples show similar values to primary carbonatites, while most of REE-rich samples show heavier δ18O, which is consistent with magmatic fluid-related values in a previous study (Guarino et al., 2016).

Isotopic results suggest that minor primary magmatic signatures may have been preserved in the C isotopes, while the wide variation of isotopic O point towards post-magmatic processes at low temperatures, which could be responsible for the widespread alteration features throughout the complex. The interpretation is consistent with two distinct microscopic occurrences and elemental zoning of monazite. Our studies reveal two major stages of carbonatite evolution with the early phase having minimal REE enrichment while the post-magmatic processes may have played a significant role in the enrichment of REEs in the carbonatites.