The Ilimaussaq alkaline complex, South Greenland, the type locality of agpaitic nepheline syenites and of thirty minerals, among which arfvedsonite, eudialyte and sodalite, has been studied since 1806. The paper reviews the outcome of 200 years of geological investigations and presents an overview and a synthesis of the petrology of the complex. According to one model for the evolution of the complex, the nepheline syenites formed by consolidation of one magma batch in a closed system. The lujavrites were formed from the residual melts left after the formation of the roof series and the floor series and were sandwiched between these. A second model implies that the kakortokites and lujavrites formed from one or more separate magma pulses which intruded the already consolidated roof series rocks. This model is supported by new information on contact relations and especially on the petrology and geochemistry of a marginal pegmatitic fades that forms a rim around the kakortokite-lower aegirine lujavrite part of the complex. It consists of a massive-textured matrix intersected by pegmatites.
The matrix was the first rock to form in the lowermost exposed part of the complex and gives information about the composition of the initial magma of the kakortokite-lujavrite sequence. It is concluded that the agpaitic rocks of the complex were formed from at least two successive magma injections, which formed respectively the roof series and the kakortokite-lujavrite sequence.