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Petrography, geochemistry and U-Pb zircon age of the Matongo carbonatite Massif (Burundi): Implication for the Neoproterozoic geodynamic evolution of Central Africa

Abstract : The Matongo carbonatite intrusion belongs to the Neoproterozoic Upper Ruvubu alkaline plutonic complex (URAPC), that is located in Burundi along the western branch of the East African Rift. Beside the Matongo carbonatite, the URAPC alkaline complex comprises feldspathoidal syenites, diorites, quartz-bearing syenites and granites. Three main facies have been recognized in the Matongo carbonatite: (1) Sövites represent the dominant facies. Two varieties have been recognized. A scarce coarse-grained sövite (sövite I), which is altered and poorly enriched in REE (4 < ΣREE < 8 ppm), is encountered in highly fractured zones. A fine-grained sövite (sövite II), which is made of saccharoidal calcite, commonly associated with apatite, aegirine and amphibole, is abundant in the intrusion. Sövite II is enriched in LREE (442 < ΣREE < 1550 ppm, 49 < LaN/YbN < 175). (2) Ferrocarbonatites, that form decimeter-wide veins crosscutting the sövites, are characterized by a LREE enriched patterns (225 < ΣREE < 1048 ppm, 17 < LaN/YbN < 64). (3) K-feldspar and biotite-rich fenite facies (silicocarbonatites) have been recognized at the contact between the carbonatites and the country rock. They are likewise LREE-enriched (134 < ΣREE < 681 ppm, 25 < LaN/YbN < 46). Additionaly, "late" hydrothermal MREE-rich carbonatite veinlets can be found in sövite I. They are characterized by moderate enrichment in REE (ΣREE = 397 ppm), with a MREE-humped pattern (LaN/YbN = 3.7). The different facies represent the typical magmatic evolution of a carbonatite, while the silicocarbonatites are interpreted as resulting from the fenitisation of the country host-rocks. In addition, the most REE-depleted and fractionated facies, i.e. the coarse-grained sövite facies and the "late" calcite veinlets testify for hydrothermal processes that occurred after carbonatite emplacement and result from REE mobilization and redistribution. Large idiomorphic zircon crystals (megacrysts), found in the vicinity of the carbonatite can directly be related to the carbonatite evolution. They have been dated at 705.5 ± 4.5 Ma (U-Pb concordant age, LA-ICP-MS). Similar zircon megacrysts of the Lueshe carbonatite (DRCongo) have been dated and give a concordant age at 798.5 ± 4.9 Ma (U-Pb, LA-ICP-MS). Considering that an extensional tectonic regime occured at that time in Central Africa - what remains debated - both ages could relate to different stages of Rodinia breakup, with uprise of mantle-derived magmas along Palaeoproterozoic lithospheric zones of weakness.
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Gilbert Midende, Philippe Boulvais, Luc Tack, Franck Melcher, Axel Gerdes, et al.. Petrography, geochemistry and U-Pb zircon age of the Matongo carbonatite Massif (Burundi): Implication for the Neoproterozoic geodynamic evolution of Central Africa. Journal of African Earth Sciences, Elsevier, 2014, 100, pp.656-674. ⟨10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2014.08.010⟩. ⟨insu-01068377⟩

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