Abstract

Phase relations in the system K2CO3-CaCO3 have been studied in the compositional range, X(K2CO3), from 100 to 10 mol%, at 6.0 GPa and 900–1450 °C. At 900–950 °C, the system has three intermediate compounds: K6Ca2(CO3)5, K2Ca(CO3)2, and K2Ca3(CO3)4. The K2Ca(CO3)2 compound decomposes to the K6Ca2(CO3)5 + K2Ca3(CO3)4 assembly above 950 °C. The K6Ca2(CO3)5 and K2Ca3(CO3)4 compounds melt congruently slightly above 1200 and 1300 °C, respectively. The eutectics were established at 64 and 44 mol% near 1200 °C and at 23 mol% near 1300 °C. K2CO3 remains as a liquidus phase at 1300 °C and 75 mol% and melts at 1425 ± 20 °C. Aragonite remains as a liquidus phase at 1300 °C and 20 mol% and at 1400 °C and 10 mol%. CaCO3 solubility in K2CO3 and K2CO3 solubility in aragonite are below the detection limit (<0.5 mol%).

Infiltration of subduction-derived K-rich Ca-Mg-Fe-carbonatite into the Fe0-saturated mantle causes the extraction of (Mg,Fe)CO3 components from the melt, which shifts its composition toward K-Ca-carbonatite. According to our data this melt can be stable at the P-T conditions of subcratonic lithosphere with geothermal gradient of 40 mW/m2 corresponding to temperature of 1200 °C at 6 GPa.

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