Diamonds and cratons

does the relationship hold for the Canadian deposits?

Thomas Stachel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


The exclusive association of primary (kimberlite- or lamproite-hosted) diamond deposits with longterm stable continental cores, termed cratons, was established empirically in the 1960s and became known as Clifford’s Rule. In its original version (Clifford, 1966), Clifford’s Rule defined cratons as those cores that have remained stable for at least 1.5 billion years; later revisions pushed this age standard back to the end of the Archean eon, 2.5 billion years ago. Through a combination of geophysical data and geochemical studies—employing mantle xenoliths (mantle-derived rock fragments) and inclusions in diamonds— it was recognized in the 1980s that the ultimate cause for this link between diamonds and cratons lies in unusually deep-reaching lithospheric keels beneath cratons, extending about 200 km into the convecting mantle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-114
Number of pages3
JournalGems and Gemology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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