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The Ilímaussaq Alkaline Complex, South Greenland

  • Michael A. W. MarksEmail author
  • Gregor Markl
Chapter
Part of the Springer Geology book series (SPRINGERGEOL)

Abstract

The Ilímaussaq complex in South Greenland is a well-studied multiphase alkaline to peralkaline intrusion of MesoProterozoic age. Most of the Ilímaussaq rocks are extremely enriched in alkalis, iron, halogens, high-field-strength elements (HFSE) and other rare elements, forming one of the most differentiated peralkaline rock suites known.

The major factors causing the extreme differentiation trends are low oxygen fugacity and silica activity as well as very low water activity in the melts. These inhibit the early exsolution of aqueous NaCl-bearing fluids and thereby facilitate the enrichment of alkalis and halogens in the melts, thereby increasing the solubility of HFSE. The unusually long crystallization interval of these rocks and the suspected continuous transition from melt to fluid results in extensive (auto)metasomatism and hydrothermal overprint. Primary mineral assemblages are therefore partially resorbed in most rock units and replaced by secondary minerals to various extents.

The Ilímaussaq complex is a well-known example of magmatic layering in peralkaline plutonic rocks. Recent investigations on mineral chemical trends in the layered rocks permit better understanding of their formation. The mechanism of crystal mats formation in the cooling magma causing crowding effects during settling of the layering-forming minerals is believed to govern the formation of the Ilímaussaq layered sequence.

Despite more than 100 years of research and hundreds of publications on Ilímaussaq, important aspects on the origin of some Ilímaussaq rocks, the architecture and deep structure of the complex and the significance of hydrocarbons and bitumens present in the peralkaline rocks remain unclear. Thus, plenty of room for further studies on these unusual rocks exists and interdisciplinary research is needed to better understand the genesis of this unique magmatic complex.

Keywords

Peralkaline rocks Agpaitic rocks Eudialyte Oxygen fugacity Halogens Metasomatism 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The funding of various Ilímaussaq- and Gardar-related projects provided by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft is gratefully acknowledged. Also, we highly appreciate the work of numerous student assistants, Diploma students, and PhD students, which together contributed to our mineralogical, petrological and geochemical knowledge on the Ilímaussaq area over the past 15 years. Special gratitude is owed to Thomas Wenzel. He provided critical support during microprobe work and brought many of the past Ilímaussaq projects to a success, because of his expertise, his steady interest in this work and his constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript (as well of several others in the past). Many constructive and fruitful discussions with numerous colleagues enhanced our understanding on the Gardar Province and the Ilímaussaq area. Amongst others we would like to thank Brian Upton, Henning Bohse and Paul Bons. We are also grateful to Salik Hard and co-workers of the Narsaq tourist office, Harry Andersen, Peter Lindberg, Helgi Jonasson and Stefán Magnússon, who provided logistic support during various field campaigns in South Greenland. We also thank Lotte Melchior Larsen, Tom Andersen and Troels F.D. Nielsen for their very detailed and constructive reviews, which helped us to improve the present work.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, FB GeowissenschaftenUniversität TübingenTübingenGermany

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