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Evidence for the alkaline nature of parental carbonatite melts at Oka complex in Canada

Meenu Garg • DATE: October 30, 2013

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Wei's paper highlights the excellent work she conducted as part of an international cooperation with Dr. Vadim Kamenetsky at the University of Tasmania, Hobart (Australia). Wei spent 6 weeks in Dr. Kamenetsky's lab learning the fine art of conducting chemical and mineralogical analyses of melt inclusions hosted within crystals of the mineral magnetite (Fe3O4).

The magnetite crystals are hosted within igneous rocks (i.e., rocks resulting from melting of Earth's mantle) referred to as carbonatites. The latter are an exceptional and intriguing type of igneous rock since they are composed primarily of calcium carbonate (Calcite - CaCO3) rather than silicate minerals, which are the predominant minerals in the Earth's crust and oceanic rocks. Despite the small number of carbonatite occurrences worldwide (n=527) compared to their volcanic counterparts in the past and present-day, carbonatites continue to receive considerable deserved attention because of their unique enrichment (relative to crustal abundances) in incompatible trace elements, such as niobium (Nb) and the rare earth elements (REEs, La, Ce, Nd, Sm, etc). These elements are of strategic importance in the continually burgeoning fields of superconductors, electronics and computing. Several countries such as USA, China, Brazil, and Canada are host to carbonatite occurrences, and there is active exploration in many of these countries to locate new deposits given the ever increasing demand for the manufacturing of sophisticated electronic components.

Link: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2013/131030/ncomms3687/full/ncomms3687.html