A tale of two intrusions—where familiar rock names no longer suffice



Two contrasting intrusions in Greenland are described which both have extreme compositions and mineralogy. Ilímaussaq is part of the Mezoproterozoic Gardar Province of southern West Greenland. It developed by extreme fractionation in the crust of non-remarkable weakly alkaline basic magmas leading to extraordinarily high levels of many rare elements. Indeed, in this intrusion the zirconium mineral, eudialyte, attains rock-forming status. Gardiner in the East Greenland sector of the Palaeogene North Atlantic Igneous Province, was formed from nephelinitic magmas formed at great depth in the mantle by very low degrees of partial melting. Here, the magmas were so silica-poor that there are large amounts of rocks composed of the melilite group of minerals, generally with perovskite (CaTiO4) as a major phase. Thus, extreme compositions at Ilímaussaq were caused by fractionation to very small amounts of melt while at Gardiner it was caused by very small degrees of mantle melting. Both intrusions are known for fine specimens of rare minerals; in the case of Ilímaussaq over 200 have been described. Rocks such as those found here require their own names as they cannot be accommodated in the usual petrological nomenclature.