Carbonatites from Calatrava, Spain

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 researchers
Emma Williams
Dr Emma Humphreys-Williams

Analytical chemist studying melting of the mantle in intraplate regions and carbonatites.


Mantle xenolith
A fragment of rock from a depth of up to 50km, brought to Earth's surface through volcanism.

Mantle rock that has melted under extreme heat and/or pressure.