Carbonatites are rare, but important, igneous rocks in the Earth’s crust. They are composed of Ca, Mg, and Fe carbonates, along with many minor and trace components. The majority of the world’s rare earth elements—which are essential for high-tech devices—are associated with carbonatites. This issue explores how carbonatites form and evolve in the mantle or crust, the temporal and tectonic controls on their formation, why they are enriched in rare earth elements, and their economic significance.
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