Pervasive assimilation of carbonate and silicate rocks in the Hortavær igneous complex, north-central Norway

Calvin G. Barnes, Tore Prestvik, Bjørn Sundvoll, Denny Surratt

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58 Scopus citations


The intrusive complex at Hortavær represents a magma transfer zone in which multiple pulses of gabbroic and dioritic magmas evolved along Fe- and alkali-enrichment trends. Extreme alkali enrichment resulted in nepheline-normative and sparse nepheline-bearing monzodioritic and monzonitic rocks. More evolved monzonitic and syenitic rocks are silica saturated and, in some cases, quartz bearing. Previous and current research recognized an abundance of clinopyroxene and other Ca-rich phases, such as scapolite, grossular-rich garnet, and igneous-textured calcite among the mafic and intermediate rocks. Even the most pyroxene-rich samples contain low Sc concentrations, which suggests early, intense fractionation of clinopyroxene. These features and the alkali enrichment are consistent with assimilation of carbonate-rich host rocks. Carbon isotope ratios of the igneous-textured calcite indicate an origin of the carbon from host rocks rich in calcite, consistent with assimilation. However, low εNd values (-3.4 to -10.2) and moderate initial 87Sr/86Sr values (0.7052 to 0.7099) indicate the need for assimilation of quartzofeldspathic rocks as well. Models of combined assimilation and fractional crystallization indicate that assimilation of simple end members, either carbonate or silicate, cannot explain the entire data set. Instead, variable proportions of carbonate and silicate materials were assimilated, with the most pronounced assimilation effects in the mafic rocks. The reasons for variable degrees of assimilation are, as yet, uncertain. It is possible that assimilation of calc-silicate rocks with variable carbonate/silicate proportions resulted in the range of observed compositions. However, the importance of carbonate assimilation in mafic rocks compared to felsic ones suggests that assimilation of carbonates was predominant at high temperature and/or mafic magma compositions and assimilation of silicates was predominant at lower temperature and/or felsic magma compositions. We suggest that the ability of the mafic magma to dissolve higher proportions of carbonate contaminants is the result of the magma's ability to form clinopyroxene as a product of assimilation. In any case, extensive carbonate assimilation was possible because CO2 escaped from the system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-199
Number of pages21
Issue number1-4 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Alkaline
  • Assimilation
  • Carbonate
  • Norway


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