Episodic diamond genesis at Jwaneng, Botswana, and implications for Kaapvaal craton evolution

S. H. Richardson*, S. B. Shirey, J. W. Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Major element and Re-Os isotope analysis of single sulfide inclusions in diamonds from the 240 Ma Jwaneng kimberlite has revealed the presence of at least two generations of eclogitic diamonds at this locality, one Proterozoic (ca. 1.5 Ga) and the other late Archean (ca. 2.9 Ga). The former generation is considered to be the same as that of eclogitic garnet and clinopyroxene inclusion bearing diamonds from Jwaneng with a Sm-Nd isochron age of 1.54 Ga. The latter is coeval with the 2.89 Ga subduction-related generation of eclogitic sulfide inclusion bearing diamonds from Kimberley formed during amalgamation of the western and eastern Kaapvaal craton near the Colesberg magnetic lineament. The Kimberley, Jwaneng, and Premier kimberlites are key localities for characterizing the relationship between episodic diamond genesis and Kaapvaal craton evolution. Kimberley has 3.2 Ga harzburgitic diamonds associated with creation of the western Kaapvaal cratonic nucleus, and 2.9 Ga eclogitic diamonds resulting from its accretion to the eastern Kaapvaal. Jwaneng has two main eclogitic diamond generations (2.9 and 1.5 Ga) reflecting both stabilization and subsequent modification of the craton. Premier has 1.9 Ga lherzolitic diamonds that postdate Bushveld-Molopo magmatism (but whose precursors have Archean Sm-Nd model ages), as well as 1.2 Ga eclogitic diamonds. Thus, Jwaneng provides the overlap between the dominantly Archean vs. Proterozoic diamond formation evident in the Kimberley and Premier diamond suites, respectively. In addition, the 1.5 Ga Jwaneng eclogitic diamond generation is represented by both sulfide and silicate inclusions, allowing for characterization of secular trends in diamond type and composition. Results for Jwaneng and Kimberley eclogitic sulfides indicate that Ni- and Os-rich end members are more common in Archean diamonds compared to Proterozoic diamonds. Similarly, published data for Kimberley and Premier peridotitic silicates show that Ca-rich (lherzolitic) end members are more likely to be found in Proterozoic diamonds than Archean diamonds. Thus, the available diamond distribution, composition, and age data support a multistage process to create, stabilize, and modify Archean craton keels on a billion-year time scale and global basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
Issue number1-4 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Craton
  • Diamond
  • Eclogite
  • Inclusion
  • Isotope
  • Peridotite
  • Sulfide


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