Carbon, nitrogen, argon and helium study of impact diamonds from Ebeliakh alluvial deposits and Popigai crater

D. A. Shelkov, A. B. Verchovsky, H. J. Milledge, F. V. Kaminsky, C. T. Pillinger

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Nineteen diamond aggregate specimens (1-2 mm in size) from impactites of Popigai crater and five diamond samples (5-7 mm in size) from Ebeliakh river placers were studied. Our investigations indicate that samples from Ebeliakh were formed in an impact event with the exception of one specimen (Y7). The carbon isotopic composition of diamonds from Popigai varies within the previously reported limits (δ13C, -8 to -22‰); whereas, diamonds from Ebeliakh placers show heavier values of δ13C (-7 to -10‰). All the specimens studied contain very low amounts of N, mostly <20 ppm, but a few contained up to 60 ppm. For specimens, where the quantity of N allowed reliable analysis, δ15N values were found to be in the range of -3.9 to +11.9‰. On the basis of combined Ar and N study, it was concluded that impact diamonds studied here can be a mixture of at least two types of gas carriers (e.g., different diamond components). A possible explanation would be involvement of a carbon vapour deposition (CVD) process or diamond growth in the impact melt in addition to the direct graphite-diamond shock transformation. The δ13C distributions and different N/36Ar correlations have indicated a difference between impact diamonds from Ebeliakh and diamonds extracted from Popigai crater. This could be explained by the existence of different diamond populations formed during the Popigai impact event. On the other hand, Ebeliakh diamonds could have resulted from a separate impact event to Popigai and an alternative crater is yet to be found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-992
Number of pages8
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998


  • Alluvial deposit
  • Crater
  • Diamond
  • Geochemistry
  • Impact structure
  • Popigai structure
  • Russian Federation
  • Siberia

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