The Storkwitz carbonatite breccia, located near Delitzsch, Germany, is one of the few European domestic rare earth elements (REE) deposits, but is relatively understudied owing to more than 100 m of Cenozoic sedimentary cover. We present the results of a petrological investigation of the recently acquired ∼700 m-deep SES 1/2012 borehole. The Storkwitz breccia is composed of clasts of country rock and carbonatite ranging from <1 mm to ∼30 cm in size, cemented by ankeritic carbonatite. Extensive fenitization and biotitization mainly affects clasts of coarse-grained granitoids and medium-grained dolomite-calcite-carbonatites. An intersection of Storkwitz breccia at 425 m to 542 m contains local REE enrichment up to ∼1.7 wt.%. total rare earth oxides, which is predominantly contained in a REE-fluorcarbonate bearing mineral assemblage. The assemblage locally forms irregularly shaped vug-like features and rare hexagonal pseudomorphs in clasts of fine-grained ankerite-carbonatite. The REE-fluorcarbonate mineral assemblage formed prior to brecciation in the ankerite-carbonatite, which paragenetically fits with recent experimental and fluid inclusion data demonstrating the importance of late magmatic processes in forming carbonatite-hosted REE mineralization, possibly from an evolved ‘brine-melt' phase. Our findings indicate that minor REE recrystallization and redistribution occurred during late-stage hydrothermal or supergene processes, without leading to significant REE enrichment in the upper part of the breccia compared to the lower part. Cross-cutting faults represent the last deformation event and post-date carbonatite intrusion and fenitization. They may represent important conduits for late-stage hydrothermal or supergene fluids responsible for recrystallization of the breccia matrix to a cryptocrystalline oxide mineral assemblage. Our findings highlight the importance of REE enrichment in late-stage ‘brine-melt' phases through magmatic fractionation and in situ hydrothermal replacement.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.