The K2CO3-CaCO3-MgCO3 System at 6 GPa: Implications for diamond forming carbonatitic melts

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Abstract

Carbonate micro inclusions with abnormally high K2O appear in diamonds worldwide. However, the precise determination of their chemical and phase compositions is complicated due to their sub-micron size. The K2CO3-CaCO3-MgCO3 is the simplest system that can be used as a basis for the reconstruction of the phase composition and P-T conditions of the origin of the K-rich carbonatitic inclusions in diamonds. In this regard, this paper is concerned with the subsolidus and melting phase relations in the K2CO3-CaCO3-MgCO3 system established in Kawai-type multianvil experiments at 6 GPa and 900-1300 °C. At 900 °C, the system has three intermediate compounds K2Ca3(CO3)4 (Ca# ≥ 97), K2Ca(CO3)2 (Ca# ≥ 58), and K2Mg(CO3)2 (Ca# ≤ 10), where Ca# = 100Ca/(Ca + Mg). Miscibility gap betweenK2Ca(CO3)2 andK2Mg(CO3)2 suggest that their crystal structures differ at 6GPa. Mg-bearing K2Ca(CO3)2 (Ca# ≤ 28) disappear above 1000 °C to produce K2Ca3(CO3)4 + K8Ca3(CO3)7 + K2Mg(CO3)2. The system has two eutectics between 1000 and 1100 °C controlled by the following melting reactions: K2Ca3(CO3)4 + K8Ca3(CO3)7 + K2Mg(CO3)2 → [40K2CO3.60(Ca0.70Mg0.30)CO3] (1st eutectic melt) and K8Ca3(CO3)7 + K2CO3 + K2Mg(CO3)2 →[62K2CO3.38(Ca0.73Mg0.27)CO3] (2nd eutectic melt). The projection of the K2CO3-CaCO3-MgCO3 liquidus surface is divided into the eight primary crystallization fields for magnesite, aragonite, dolomite, Ca-dolomite, K2Ca3(CO3)4, K8Ca3(CO3)7, K2Mg(CO3)2, and K2CO3. The temperature increase is accompanied by the sequential disappearance of crystalline phases in the following sequence: K8Ca3(CO3)7 (1220 °C)→K2Mg(CO3)2 (1250 °C)→K2Ca3(CO3)4 (1350 °C)→K2CO3 (1425 °C)→dolomite (1450 °C)→CaCO3 (1660 °C)→ magnesite (1780 °C). The high Ca# of about 40 of the K2(Mg, Ca)(CO3)2 compound found as inclusions in diamond suggest (1) its formation and entrapment by diamond under the P-T conditions of 6 GPa and 1100 °C; (2) its remelting during transport by hot kimberlitemagma, and (3) repeated crystallization in inclusion that retained mantle pressure during kimberlite magma emplacement. The obtained results indicate that the K-Ca-Mg carbonate melts containing 20-40 mol% K2CO3 is stable under P-T conditions of 6 GPa and 1100-1200 °C corresponding to the base of the continental lithospheric mantle. It must be emphasized that the high alkali content in the carbonate melt is a necessary condition for its existence under geothermal conditions of the continental lithosphere, otherwise, it will simply freeze.

Original languageEnglish
Article number558
JournalMinerals
Volume9
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Bütschliite
  • Continental lithosphere
  • Diamond formation
  • Double potassium carbonates
  • High-pressure experiment
  • Ultrapotassic carbonatite melt
  • LIQUID IMMISCIBILITY
  • diamond formation
  • HIGH-PRESSURE
  • high-pressure experiment
  • LITHOSPHERIC MANTLE
  • CRYSTAL-STRUCTURE
  • INTERNATSIONALNAYA KIMBERLITE PIPE
  • butschliite
  • UDACHNAYA KIMBERLITE
  • FLUID INCLUSIONS
  • ultrapotassic carbonatite melt
  • MINERAL INCLUSIONS
  • FIBROUS DIAMONDS
  • continental lithosphere
  • PHASE-RELATIONS
  • double potassium carbonates

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