Types of carbonatites: Geochemistry, genesis and mantle sources

Nikolay V. Vladykin, Franco Pirajno

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Three types of carbonatites have been identified based on the analysis of alkaline complexes using geological, petrological, and geochemical data. It has been suggested that for distinguishing carbonatite complexes into these three types, the following criteria should be used: a) the alkalinity type (Na- or K- richer primary magmas) and b) the time when the carbonatite liquid separates from silicate melts in different stages of primary magma differentiation. The first type is genetically related to the kimberlite magmatism and the carbonatite liquid separates from ultramafic magma. The second type is associated with Na-rich alkaline ultramafic rocks and the carbonatite component separates when pyroxenites and ijolites crystallize. The third type is related to K-alkaline complexes and the carbonatite component separates when syenites and granites crystallize. In this article we discuss the geochemical characteristics of all 3 types and outline the difference between them. A model for the formation of carbonatite complexes under the influence of mantle plume processes is given. The geochemistry of C, O, Sr, and Nd isotopes shows that carbonatite complexes, depending on their geotectonic setting (platform surrounding, orogenic areas and rift zones) can originate from three types of mantle sources: depleted mantle, enriched mantle 1 (EM1), and enriched mantle 2 (EM2).

Original languageEnglish
Article number105982
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


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