Exhumation of lower mantle inclusions in diamond: ATEM investigation of retrograde phase transitions, reactions and exsolution

Frank E. Brenker*, Thomas Stachel, Jeff W. Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


A multiphase inclusion (KK-83) in a diamond from the Kankan deposits in Guinea, resulting from complex reactions between primary lower mantle phases, was examined in detail using analytical transmission electron microscopy. The inclusion consists of a large (300 μm) diopside crystal with a small symplectitic intergrowth in one corner, comprising olivine and tetragonal almandine pyrope phase (TAPP). The olivine part of the symplectite contains small exsolutions of Mg-Al-chromite and rare Ca-carbonate. A second inclusion of ferropericlase observed in the same diamond indicates a primary origin within the lower mantle. The clinopyroxene formed through a series of reactions at the expense of touching inclusions of CaSi- and MgSi-perovskite during convective ascent of the diamond through the transition zone. The proposed reaction sequence is: MgSiPvk+CaSiPvk→MgSiIlm+CaSiPvk→ring-woodite +stishovite+CaSiPvk→clinopyroxene+relict ringwoodite. The high Al-content of the bulk symplectite indicates ringwoodite as precursor phase coexisting with clinopyroxene. A slight defieciency of SiO2 during the diopside forming reaction leads to a small amount of relict ringwoodite (<0.1 vol% of the total inclusion is occupied by ringwoodite) coexisting with diopside. The ringwoodite captures the observed high amount of Al. Subsequent breakdown of ringwoodite to wadsleyite+TAPP produces the observed symplectitic intergrowth. During the phase transformation of wadsleyite to olivine, exsolution of Mg-Al-chromite occurs further decreasing the original solubility of Al, Cr and Ti, in accordance with experimental data on the element partitioning between wadsleyite and olivine. Based on these observations, TAPP can form as a retrograde phase within the transition zone of the Earth's mantle and is not restricted to the upper part of the lower mantle. High Fe3+ -contents may favour its formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Almandine
  • Diamond
  • Guinea
  • Inclusion
  • Lower mantle
  • Pyrope
  • Transition zones
  • Transmission electron microscopy


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