The origins of magnetite-apatite deposits are controversial, and the crux of the debate is what types of fluids form these rocks. We present evidence from 20 magnetite-apatite deposits worldwide showing ubiquitous involvement of molten salts. The studied deposits are distributed globally, from various tectonic settings, and from Precambrian to Quaternary in age. In every case, water-poor polycrystalline melt inclusions in ore-stage minerals are dominated by sulfate, chloride, and carbonate components plus variable proportions of calc-silicates, phosphates, and iron ± titanium oxides that re-melt between 285 °C and 1100 °C. These fluids are very different from what is generally expected in most geologic settings, but their ubiquitous presence in magnetite-apatite rocks indicates that molten salts are widespread and essential to the formation of these deposits.

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