Carbonatites from Calatrava in Spain

Calatrava xenolith

Mantle xenolith with vein from Calatrava, Spain

Principal Investigator

Project summary

  • Focus: identifying and characterising materials erupted in volcanic carbonatite provinces

Museum scientists are using petrology and geochemistry to investigate the magma production processes taking place under Earth’s surface in Calatrava, Spain.

The volcanic rocks in Calatrava are well exposed as vegetation in the area is sparse. They contain spectacular examples of mantle xenoliths along with some good examples of magmatic carbonate.

Research focus

We are studying mantle xenoliths from depths of up to 50km to identify and geochemically characterise mantle materials erupted in volcanic carbonatite provinces.

We can use variations between xenoliths to track the changing composition of melts as they react with the mantle.

Carbonatite research

Museum scientists are studying carbonatites, igneous rocks composed of more than 50 weight percent calcium carbonate.


Origins, evolution and futures research

We study the Earth's origins, environment and the evolution of life

Mineral and planetary sciences research

Investigating the origins and evolution of Earth and our solar system

Rock collection

The Museum’s rock collection consists of approximately 123,000 samples collected from around the world