Fractionation of rare-earth elements in allanite and monazite as related to geology of the Mt. Wheeler mine area, Nevada
Rare-earth contents of 20 allanites and 13 monazites, accessory minerals from a restricted outcrop area of intrusive granitic rocks, are reported. A quantity called sigma (Σ), which is the sum of the atomic percentages of La, Ce and Pr, is used as an index of composition with respect to the rare-earth elements. Values of sigma vary from 61.3 to 80.9 at.% for these allanites and monazites, representing an appreciable range of composition in terms of the rare-earth elements. Degree of fractionation of rare earths varies directly with CaO content of the granitic rocks, which in turn depends largely on proximity of limestone. Four xenoliths included in the study suggest that spotty mosaic equilibria are superimposed on the regional gradients and that locally the degree of fractionation of rare earths responds to whole rock composition over distances of a few yards or less. The chemistry of the granitic rocks under study appears to be similar in some respects to that of alkalio rocks and carbonatites. Allanites from the most calcium-rich rocks show a pronounced concentration of the most basic rare earths, and whole-rock concentrations of such rare constituents as total cerium earths, Zr, F, Ti, Ba and Sr increase sympathetically with whole-rock calcium. The explanation for the concentration gradients observed in this chemical system must involve assimilation more than magmatic differentiation.