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Petrogenesis of the Eppawala carbonatites, Sri Lanka: A cathodoluminescence and electron microprobe study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 15:05 authored by Pitawala, A, Bernd Lottermoser
Field and petrographic investigations, cathodoluminescence (CL) studies as well as microprobe analyses of major rock-forming minerals were conducted to establish the crystallization processes in the Eppawala carbonatites, Sri Lanka. The well preserved magmatic textures and crystal morphologies combined with the chemistry of apatite, calcite and dolomite indicate two major stages of crystal growth, which were accompanied by dynamic crystallization conditions. Initially, nucleation of apatite, ilmenite and possibly olivine was associated with rapid crystal growth during slow cooling of the carbonatite melt at depth. The heat loss through the roof and crystallization processes induced the development of turbulent convective currents, which in turn prevented further nucleation and growth of crystals and led to the dispersion of these earlier formed crystals within the magma chamber. Then, rapid upward movement of magma along structural weaknesses led to (i) the transport of mineral clusters, (ii) deformation of ilmenite, (iii) fracturing of apatite and (iv) the emplacement of the carbonatite melt as dykes. Here, the conditions were favourable for the simultaneous crystallization of magnetite, calcite and dolomite in a non-turbulent environment. Subsequent subsolidus alteration caused the hydrothermal overprint of the documented mineral assemblages, particularly along grain boundaries. The study demonstrates that detailed textural examinations of carbonatites combined with mineral chemical analyses and CL investigations can reveal the crystallization processes within carbonatite melts. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


Publication title

Mineralogy and Petrology










School of Natural Sciences


Springer Wien

Place of publication

Sachsenplatz 4-6, Vienna, W 1201 Austria

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences

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