Carbonate-rich ultramafic lamprophyres (aillikites) and associated rocks characteristically occur during the early stages of thinning and rifting of cratonic mantle lithosphere, prior to the eruption of melilitites, nephelinites and alkali basalts. It is accepted that they require volatile-rich melting conditions, and the presence of phlogopite and carbonate in the source, but the exact source rock assemblages are debated. Melts similar to carbonate-rich ultramafic lamprophyres (aillikites) have been produced by melting of peridotites in the presence of CO2 and H2O, whereas isotopes and trace elements appear to favor distinct phlogopite-bearing rocks.
Olivine macrocrysts in aillikites are usually rounded and abraded, so that it is debated whether they are phenocrysts or mantle xenocrysts. We have analyzed minor and trace element composition in olivines from the type aillikites from Aillik Bay in Labrador, Canada. We characterize five groups of olivines:  mantle xenocrysts,  the main phenocryst population, and  reversely zoned crystals interpreted as phenocrysts from earlier, more fractionated, magma batches,  rims on the phenocrysts, which delineate aillikite melt fractionation trends, and  rims around the reversely zoned olivines. The main phenocryst population is characterized by mantle-like Ni (averaging 3400 μg g− 1) and Ni/Mg at Mg# of 88–90, overlapping with phenocrysts in ocean island basalts and Mediterranean lamproites. However, they also have low 100 Mn/Fe of 0.9–1.3 and no correlation between Ni and other trace elements (Sc, Co, Li) that would indicate recycled oceanic or continental crust in their sources. The low Mn/Fe without high Ni/Mg, and the high V/Sc (2–5) are inherited from phlogopite in the source that originated by solidification of lamproitic melts at the base of the cratonic lithosphere in a previous stage of igneous activity. The olivine phenocryst compositions are interpreted to result from phlogopite and not high modal pyroxene in the source. The presence of kimberlites and ultramafic lamprophyres of Mesozoic age in Greenland indicates the persistence of a steep edge to the cratonic lithosphere at a time when this had been removed from the western flank in Labrador.
- Trace element
- Carbonate-rich ultramafic lamprophyre
- Phlogopite-rich source
- Cratonic lithosphere