An evaluation of models of apatite compositional variability using apatite from the Middle Banded series of the Stillwater Complex, Montana
Apatite is a relatively common accessory mineral in the olivine-bearing zones (OB-III and OB-IV) of the Middle Banded series of the Stillwater complex, occurring interstitial to cumulus grains, as monomineralic inclusions in cumulus grains, and in polymineralic clusters which may or may not be included in the cumulus grains. Eighty-nine of 185 samples examined were found to contain some apatite. The F-Cl-OH content of the apatite show distinct stratigraphic variations. XApCl (mole fraction Cl in apatite) of interstitial apatite increases upsection in both OB-III and OB-IV with average values ranging from 0.15 to 0.85 in OB-III and from 0.03 to 0.60 in OB-IV. XApF varies inversely with XApCl with average values ranging from 0.00 to 0.70, while XApOH remains relatively constant near 0.40 or decreases slightly with height. These variations are remarkable given that no appreciable stratigraphic variations in either the major or trace element compositions of any of the cumulus minerals are found in the 800 m of section that comprise OB-III and OB-IV. Within-sample variation of XApCl for samples containing Cl-rich apatite is substantially larger (up to 0.65 XApCl) than for samples with more F-rich apatite (XApCl varies by approximately 0.15). Although interstitial apatite is found throughout OB-III and OB-IV, apatite occurring as monomineralic inclusion in cumulus grains or in polymineralic clusters is almost exclusively found in samples with Cl-rich apatite. The data are best explained by a model involving the degassing of a Cl-rich volatile phase from the crystallizing interstitial liquid. The up-section migration of this fluid resulted in the crystallization of F-rich apatite in the lower portion and progressive Cl-enrichment in the apatite with height. The presence of hornblende-bearing dikes, veins and pegmatoids at the level of maximum Cl-enrichment is consistent with a fluid migration model.
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