Apatite multi-generations in the Três Estradas Carbonatite, Southern Brazil: physical and chemistry meaning and implications to phosphate ore quality

Henrique de Maman Anzolin, Norberto Dani, Marcus Vinícius Dorneles Remus, Rafael da Rocha Ribeiro, Alfredo Rossetto Nunes, Kelvyn Mikael Vaccari Ruppel


Carbonatites were recently discovered in Southern Brazil, which increased the interest to evaluate the economic potential of these uncommon rocks, especially the Três Estradas Carbonatite. Carbonates are the dominant minerals of fresh rock followed by apatite, but the weathering process makes apatite abundant. We focused on apatite from the carbonatite using conventional petrography and electronic microscopy associated with microprobe, micro-Raman and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. Results demonstrate the existence of four types. The primary type is associated with the rock crystallization and the subsequent three others are associated with weathering processes. The alteration mechanism was favorable for initial carbonate leaching and subsequent increase of phosphate with late precipitation of three new apatite generations. The deduced model involves long exposure during polycyclic climate changes, intercalating periods of warm dry with humid climate. The apatite types differ chemically and morphologically and have distinctive characteristics that are suitable to be used to differentiate them. These properties should be considered in future planes of industrial processes to transform apatite into single superphosphate, a basic input for fertilizer production.


Carbonatite; Geochemistry; Phosphate; Apatite.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/2317-4889201920180092


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