Abstract

The magma source and evolution of a zoned breccia pipe on the southern Beara Peninsula in southwest Ireland are investigated using the geochemistry of the host mineral assemblages. The clast-poor inner zone of the pipe has a magnesium-rich silicocarbonatite whole-rock composition (14.30 wt.% MgO; 31.80 wt.% SiO2). The silicocarbonatite has retained an ultimate mantle source 13C isotopic composition after metamorphism, consistent with the presence of mantle debris. The silicocarbonatite is Cr-, Ni- and Co-rich (847 ppm, 611 ppm and 60 ppm, respectively) but REE depleted compared with volcanic dolomite carbonatites worldwide. The mineral assemblage consists of Sr-rich (0.55 wt.% SrO) ferroan dolomite, magnesite and pseudomorphs of chlorite after phlogopite, consistent with derivation from a carbonated and hydrated mantle. However, chrome spinel crystals (≤40.14 wt.% Cr2O3) are compositionally indistinguishable from unmetasomatized spinel macrocrysts in kimberlites. The silicocarbonatite is inferred to represent a magma produced by partial melting of metasomatized mantle at physical conditions between those in which primary dolomite carbonatite and ultramafic magmas of high-pressure origin form. The primary silicocarbonatite magma ascended and sampled mantle material in a manner similar to kimberlite, and subsequently lost volatile components due to release of metasomatic fluids and later metamorphism.

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