More than 1000 analyses have been tabulated of the distribution of the lanthanides and yttrium in minerals of the apatite group, recalculated to atomic percentages. Average compositions have been calculated for apatites from 14 types of rocks. These show a progressive change of composition from apatites of granitic pegmatites, highest in the heavy lanthanides and yttrium, to those from alkalic pegmatites, highest in the light lanthanides and lowest in yttrium. This progression is clearly shown in plots of S (= at % La+Ce+Pr) vs the ratio La/Nd and of S vs the ratio 100Y/(Y+Ln), where Ln is the sum of the lanthanides.
Apatites of sedimentary phosphorites occupy a special position, being relatively depleted in Ce and relatively enriched in yttrium and the heavy lanthanides, consequences of deposition from sea water.
Apatites associated with iron ores are close in composition to apatites of carbonatites, alkalic ultramafic, and ultramafic rocks, being enriched in the light lanthanides and depleted in the heavy lanthanides. Their compositions do not support the hypothesis of Parak that the Kiruna-type ores are of sedimentary origin.
Table 9 and Figures 1-3 show the dependence of lanthanide distribution on the nature of the host rock. Although a given analysis of the lanthanides does not unequivocally permit certain identification of the host rock, it can indicate a choice of highly probable host rocks.
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USGS Numbered Series
The lanthanides and yttrium in minerals of the apatite group; a review