Chemical exchange between silicate magmas and carbonate rocks has major implications for igneous fractionation, atmospheric CO2 flux, and formation of mineral deposits. However, this process is only partly understood, and long-standing questions of whether, where, and how carbonate rocks can be digested by silicate melts remain controversial. We describe evidence for pervasive chemical exchange between silicate melt and carbonate rock in a shallow porphyry setting driven by limestone assimilation. Melt inclusions in endoskarn from the Chating Cu-Au deposit in eastern China reveal that the calc-silicate assemblage (diopside + andradite ± wollastonite ± epidote) was molten at the time of skarn formation and coexisted with CO2 vapor as well as sulfate- and chloride-salt melts. Hence, we argue that endoskarn at Chating formed by crystallization of an immiscible calc-silicate melt produced by assimilation of carbonate rock, aided by the presence of sulfate and other fluxes, which in turn promoted desilication of the intruding magma and drove vigorous CO2 release.

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