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Niobium, zirconium, titanium, and rare earth elements in alkaline silica-undersatured magmas: experimental determination of solubility, complexation and phase relations and implications for the formation of magmatic Nb-Zr-REE deposits

Peralkaline magmatic rocks host some the largest accumulations of Zr, Nb, Ta and rare earth elements (REE) on Earth. Of particular importance at present or in the near future are or will be deposits in silica-undersaturated alkaline rocks (Khibiny and Lovozero massifs, Kola Peninsula, Russia and deposits in the Gardar province, southern Greenland), which are characterized by a complex mineralogy. So far, these rocks are little studied experimentally, and thus fundamental data on solubility and complexation of these elements and even on phase relationships are missing. In the project proposed here, we would like to address some of the open questions and determine the solubility of Nb, Zr, Ti and REE from minerals that crystallize early upon cooling (lueshite, perovskite, loparite, eudialyte, parakeldyshite, zircon, baddeleyite) in alkali aluminosilicate melts as function of peralkalinity, and of the concentrations of F, Cl, CO2, and H2O). These experiments will also provide information on phase relationships. Moreover, we plan to study the coordination chemistry of Nb, Zr, Ti and REE in the produced glasses and the complexation of Nb in the melt in situ at high temperature.