Apatite-hosted melt inclusions in Damiao massif anorthosite complex, North China
Friday, 19 December 2014
Models for the nelsonite formation are currently highly contentious, with liquid immiscibility and fractional crystallization as frequently proposed formation mechanisms. The nelsonites in the Damiao massif anorthosite complex in the North China Craton and experimental evidence are revisited for the existence of silica-free CaO-FeO-Fe2O3-TiO2-P2O5 immiscible nelsonitic liquids. Our results of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) demonstrate that nelsonite with the composition of one-third apatite and two-thirds Fe-Ti oxides by weight completely melts well above 1450 ºC, which is in good agreement with numerous experimental studies of the CaO-P2O5-FexO system in connection to metallurgy. Thus, the composition cannot be molten at temperatures relevant for crystallization of the Damiao magma. A review of experimental studies of liquid immiscibility and analyses of natural immiscible glasses show that all the liquids on the Fe- and P-rich side of the miscibility gap have at least 20 wt. % of aluminosilicate components. Main results of this study come from the analyses of apatite-hosted melt inclusions in Damiao nelsonite. The inclusions range from ~3 to 200 µm in diameter. They are ubiquitous and meet all the morphological criteria of primary melt inclusions crystallised into assemblages of daughter minerals. Almost all of them contain vermiculite and chlorite, and some contain biotite, amphibole, phlogopite and Fe-Ti oxides. Out of dozens analysed inclusions, only three have high contents of SiO2 (62.1-73.8 wt. %) and low contents of FeO (0.25-2.35 wt. %). Bulk compositions of other inclusions show large variations in SiO2 (20.79-50.16 wt. %) and FeOt (13.44-32.78 wt. %). With a few exceptions, the inclusions are very low in CaO (0.04-1.51 wt. %, and high in Al2O3 (10-21.17 wt. %). Despite the high Fe content, the compositions differ from those of the typical immiscible Fe-rich melts. It appears that the cumulus apatite crystallised from Fe-rich, hydrated silicate melt. We propose that the inclusions at Damiao record a trend of intercumulus melt evolution, which was strongly affected by separation of a hydrothermal fluid phase and the losses of alkali and Ca silicate components from the melt into the fluid.