Wadeite (K2ZrSi3O9), an alkali-zirconosilicate from the Saima agpaitic rocks in northeastern China

its origin and response to multi-stage activities of alkaline fluids

Bin Wu, Ru-Cheng Wang, Jin-Hui Yang, Fu-Yuan Wu, Wen-Lan Zhang, Xiang Ping Gu, Ai-Cheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The Triassic Saima alkaline complex in the Liaodong Peninsula of northeastern China covers an area of about 20km2 and is dominated by nepheline syenite, with phonolite at its center, and a concealed body of eudialyte-bearing nepheline syenite in the northwest of the complex. The phonolite has similar features to miaskite, while the nepheline syenites are classified in the agpaitic group according to their mineral assemblage, and the alkalinity and aluminum saturation indexes. Zircon is the dominant Zr-bearing mineral in the phonolite, whereas wadeite occurs as the only primary Zr-bearing mineral in the nepheline syenites. The transitional crystallization from zircon to wadeite reveals an increase in alkalis and a high K/Na ratio as the magmas evolved from the volcanic to the intrusive stage. The primary wadeite grains underwent varying degrees of hydrothermal alteration. Overall, the areas of weak, medium, and strong alteration are characterized by the following respective associations: (1) wadeite+secondary catapleiite/gaidonnayite, (2) wadeite+secondary catapleiite/gaidonnayite+zircon, and (3) pseudomorphs after wadeite. The pseudomorphs are widespread and mainly consist of residual wadeite, secondary zircon, catapleiite/gaidonnayite, K-feldspar, calcite, and some Zr-bearing titanite and vesuvianite. All of the secondary zircon grains in the three associations are typically enriched in Ca and Al compared with the primary Ca-free zircons of the phonolite. The progressive alteration of wadeite suggests that the Saima complex underwent multiple episodes of fluid activity during a hydrothermal stage, including an initial Na-metasomatism via alkaline fluids, then stages most likely involving progressively CO2-rich fluids, and an intensive episode involving a mixture of these fluids with externally derived Ca-rich fluids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-142
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • wadeite
  • hydrothermal alteration
  • multi-stage fluids
  • agpaite
  • saima alkaline complex
  • China

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