Carbon in mineralized ultramafic intrusions, Caledonides, northern Britain

J. Parnell* (Corresponding Author), J. Armstrong, C. Brolly, A. J. Boyce, E. Heptinstall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Graphite in Ordovician ultramafic intrusions through Neoproterozoic country rocks in West Aberdeenshire, NE Scotland attests to the mobility of carbon into subduction-related magmas. Pelites in the country rock contain up to 5% organic carbon, and are consequently also sulphide-rich. This occurrence is one of many examples of graphite in ultramafic intrusions. The sedimentary origin of the graphite carbon is indicated by carbon isotope compositions (mean -19.7 ‰) in the same range as in the country rocks (mean -21.6 ‰). The graphite is spatially and temporally associated with nickel-bearing sulphides, whose precipitation was strongly influenced by incorporation of the carbonaceous, sulphidic country rocks into the intrusions. Raman spectra for graphite in the intrusions show it is fully ordered, deposited from fluid in the magma. Preferential intrusion into pelitic country rocks facilitated the ready assimilation of carbon. In this case reworking of carbon from the crust into intrusions occurred 200 million years after sedimentation, a much longer timescale than most cycling of carbon in subduction zones.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105711
Number of pages10
Early online date31 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jul 2020


  • graphite
  • carbon
  • cumulates
  • Scotland

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    Parnell, J., Armstrong, J., Brolly, C., Boyce, A. J., & Heptinstall, E. (2020). Carbon in mineralized ultramafic intrusions, Caledonides, northern Britain. Lithos, 374-375, [105711].