A Combined EMPA and LA-ICP-MS Study of Muscovite from Pegmatites in the Chinese Altai, NW China: Implications for Tracing Rare-Element Mineralization Type and Ore-Forming Process
Qifeng Zhou, Kezhang Qin, Dongmei Tang, Chunlong Wang
The mineralogical studies of rare-element (REL) pegmatites are important for unraveling the ore-forming process and evaluating REL mineralization potential. The Chinese Altai orogenic belt hosting more than 100,000 pegmatite dykes is famous for rare-metal resources worldwide and diverse REL mineralization types. In this paper, we present the results of EMPA and LA-ICP-MS for muscovite from the typical REL pegmatite dykes of the Chinese Altai. The studied pegmatites are Li-Be-Nb-Ta, Li-Nb-Ta,
... Ta, Be-Nb-Ta, Be and barren pegmatites. The Li+ accompanied with Fe, Mg and Mn substitute for Al3+ at the octahedral site in muscovite from the REL pegmatites, and the substitution of Rb by Cs at the interlayer space is identified in muscovite from the Be pegmatites. The P and B contents increase with evolution degree and the lenses from the Nb-Ta pegmatite are produced at late fluid-rich stage with high fluxes (P and B). The enrichment of HFSE in muscovite indicates a Nb-Ta-Sn-W rich pegmatite magma for the Be-Nb-Ta pegmatite. From barren pegmatite, beryl-bearing zone, to spodumene-bearing zone, the evolution degrees of pegmatite-forming magmas progressively increase. In the Chinese Altai, the possible indicators of muscovite for REL mineralization types include Rb (ca. 400–600 ppm, barren pegmatite; ca. 1200–4000 ppm, Be pegmatite; >4500 ppm, Li pegmatite), Cs (ca. 5–50 ppm, barren pegmatite; ca. 100–500 ppm, Be pegmatite; >300 ppm, Li pegmatite) and Ge (<3 ppm, barren pegmatite; ca. 4–6 ppm, Be pegmatite; ca. 6–12 ppm, Li pegmatite) coupled with Ta, Be (both <10 ppm, barren pegmatite) and FeO (ca. 3–4 wt%, Be pegmatite; ca. 1–2.5 wt%, Li pegmatite). The plots of Nb/Ta vs. Cs and K/Rb vs. Ge are proposed to discriminate barren, Be- and Nb-Ta-(Li-Be-Rb-Cs) pegmatites. The Li, Be, Rb, Cs and F concentrations of forming liquid are evaluated based on the trace element compositions of muscovite. The high Rb and Cs contents of liquid and lower Be contents than beryl saturation value indicate that both highly evolved pegmatite magma and low temperature at emplacement contribute to beryl formation. The liquids saturated with spodumene have large variations of Li, possibly related to metastable state at Li unsaturation–supersaturation or heterogeneous distribution of lithium in the system.