Carbonatite is an uncommon and intriguing igneous rock that is primarily composed of carbonate minerals, such as calcite, dolomite, and siderite. This sets it apart from most other igneous rocks, which are typically silicate-rich. Carbonatite has a fine- to medium-grained texture, and its color can vary from light gray to brown or even greenish, depending on the mineral composition. Due to its unique mineralogy, carbonatite is of particular interest for the extraction of rare earth elements and other economically important minerals.

Mineral Makeup

The mineral composition of carbonatite is dominated by carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite and dolomite. Other carbonate minerals, such as siderite, ankerite, and magnesite, may also be present. Additionally, carbonatite may contain apatite, magnetite, barite, and various rare earth minerals, making it a valuable source of these critical elements.


Carbonatite forms from the crystallization of highly alkaline, carbonate-rich magmas. These unusual magmas are thought to be derived from the partial melting of mantle rocks at great depths or through the differentiation of other mantle-derived magmas. Carbonatite’s unique composition and formation process have made it a subject of extensive scientific study and debate.


Carbonatite occurrences are rare and typically found in association with other alkaline igneous rocks, such as nepheline syenite and kimberlite. They are often discovered in rift zones and other tectonically active regions. Notable examples of carbonatite include the Mountain Pass deposit in California, the Oka Carbonatite Complex in Quebec, Canada, and the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in Tanzania.


Carbonatite is believed to possess metaphysical properties that promote balance, stability, and creativity. It is thought to help individuals connect with the Earth’s energy, facilitating a deep sense of grounding and centeredness. Carbonatite is also said to inspire innovation, resourcefulness, and the ability to manifest one’s desires, making it a powerful stone for personal and professional growth.

ClassIgneous (Intrusive)
Mineral MakeupPrimarily carbonate minerals (calcite, dolomite, siderite) 
LusterVitreous to dull 
Hardness (Mohs)3-4
StreakWhite or colorless
ColorLight gray, brown, or greenish
CleavagePerfect in calcite and dolomite
Specific Gravity2.6 to 3.0