Magmatic-Hydrothermal Processes Associated with Rare Earth Element Enrichment in the Kangankunde Carbonatite Complex, Malawi

Frances Chikanda, Tsubasa Otake, Yoko Ohtomo, Akane Ito, Takaomi D. Yokoyama, Tsutomu Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Carbonatites undergo various magmatic-hydrothermal processes during their evolution that are important for the enrichment of rare earth elements (REE). This geochemical, petrographic, and multi-isotope study on the Kangankunde carbonatite, the largest light REE resource in the Chilwa Alkaline Province in Malawi, clarifies the critical stages of REE mineralization in this deposit. The δ56Fe values of most of the carbonatite lies within the magmatic field despite variations in the proportions of monazite, ankerite, and ferroan dolomite. Exsolution of a hydrothermal fluid from the carbonatite melts is evident based on the higher δ56Fe of the fenites, as well as the textural and compositional zoning in monazite. Field and petrographic observations, combined with geochemical data (REE patterns, and Fe, C, and O isotopes), suggest that the key stage of REE mineralization in the Kangankunde carbonatite was the late magmatic stage with an influence of carbothermal fluids i.e. magmatic–hydrothermal stage, when large (~200 μm), well-developed monazite crystals grew. The C and O isotope compositions of the carbonatite suggest a post-magmatic alteration by hydrothermal fluids, probably after the main REE mineralization stage, as the alteration occurs throughout the carbonatite but particularly in the dark carbonatites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number442
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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