The Amba Dongar carbonatite complex in western India comprises an inner ring of carbonatite breccia surrounded by a sövite ring dike. The various carbonatite units in the body include calcite carbonatite, alvikite, dolomite carbonatite, and ankerite carbonatite. The carbonate phases (calcite and ankerite) occur as phenocrysts, groundmass phases, fresh primary grains, and partially altered grains and/or pseudomorphs when hydrothermally overprinted. Rare earth element (REE) enrichment in the groundmass/altered calcite grains compared to the magmatic ones is ascribed to the presence of micron-sized REE phases. Fluorapatite and pyrochlore constitute important accessory phases that are altered to variable extents. Higher concentrations of Sr, Si, and REEs in fluorapatite are suggestive of a magmatic origin. Fresh pyrochlore preserves its magmatic composition, characterized by low A-site vacancy and high F in the Y-site, which on alteration becomes poorer in Na, Ca, and F and displays an increase in vacancy. The C-O isotope compositions of the carbonates also corroborate the extensive low-temperature hydrothermal alteration of the carbonatites.
The REE mineralization is the result of interaction of the carbonatite with a sulfur-bearing, F-rich hydrothermal fluid that exsolved from late-stage carbonatitic magmas. The hydrothermal fluids caused dissolution of the primary carbonates and simultaneous precipitation of REEs and other high field strength element (HFSE)-bearing minerals. Complex spatial associations of the magmatic minerals with the REE fluorocarbonates, [synchysite-(Ce), parisite-(Ce), bastnäsite-(Ce)] and florencite-(Ce) point to the formation of these REE phases as a consequence of postmagmatic hydrothermal dissolution of the REEs from fluorapatite, pyrochlore, and carbonates. Ubiquitous association of fluorite and barite with REE minerals indicates transport of REEs as sulfate complexes in F-rich fluids. Precipitation of REE fluorocarbonates/florencite resulted from fluid-carbonate interaction, concomitant increase in pH, and decrease in temperature. Additionally, REE precipitation was aided and abetted by the removal of sulfur from the fluid by the precipitation of barite, which destabilized the REE sulfate complexes.