Geological Magazine


The Graphite Deposit of Seathwaite in Borrowdale, Cumberland

R. G. J. Strensa1

a1 Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, University of Cambridge.


Graphite was deposited in and around a diabase intruded along post-Borrowdale Volcanic, pre-Bala faults about 4,000 feet above the Skiddaw Slate–Borrowdale Volcanic boundary. Associated copper-lead-zinc mineralization follows faults of the same trend, and is isotopically dated at 470 million years (mid-Ordovician). The breakdown of carbon monoxide in the magmatic gases was promoted by substances (notably pyrite, iron oxides, iron silicates, and quartz) which catalysed the Boudouard reaction 2CO xs21CC CO2 + C. The PT conditions of deposition of the graphite and associated minerals are estimated at P ~ 1,000 bars, T ~ 120° to 600° C. Possible occurrences of natural interlamellar compounds of graphite are discussed.