Inclusions in diamonds from the K14 and K10 kimberlites, Buffalo Hills, Alberta, Canada: Diamond growth in a plume?

Rondi M. Davies*, William L. Griffin, Suzanne Y. O'Reilly, Tom E. McCandless

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    66 Citations (Scopus)


    Analyses of mineral inclusions, carbon isotopes, nitrogen contents and nitrogen aggregation states in 29 diamonds from two Buffalo Hills kimberlites in northern Alberta, Canada were conducted. From 25 inclusion bearing diamonds, the following paragenetic abundances were found: peridotitic (48%), eclogitic (32%), eclogitic/websteritic (8%), websteritic (4%), ultradeep? (4%) and unknown (4%). Diamonds containing mineral inclusions of ferropericlase, and mixed eclogitic-asthenospheric-websteritic and eclogitic-websteritic mineral associations suggests the possibility of diamond growth over a range of depths and in a variety of mantle environments (lithosphere, asthenosphere and possibly lower mantle). Eclogitic diamonds have a broad range of C-isotopic composition (δ13C=-21‰ to -5‰). Peridotitic, websteritic and ultradeep diamonds have typical mantle C-isotope values (δ13C=-4.9‰ av.), except for two 13C-depleted peridotitic (δ13C=-11.8‰, -14.6‰) and one 13C-depleted websteritic diamond (δ13C=-11.9‰). Infrared spectra from 29 diamonds identified two diamond groups: 75% are nitrogen-free (Type II) or have fully aggregated nitrogen defects (Type IaB) with platelet degradation and low to moderate nitrogen contents (av. 330 ppm-N); 25% have lower nitrogen aggregation states and higher nitrogen contents (∼30% IaB; <1600 ppm-N). The combined evidence suggests two generations of diamond growth. Type II and Type IaB diamonds with ultradeep, peridotitic, eclogitic and websteritic inclusions crystallised from eclogitic and peridotitic rocks while moving in a dynamic environment from the asthenosphere and possibly the lower mantle to the base of the lithosphere. Mechanisms for diamond movement through the mantle could be by mantle convection, or an ascending plume. The interaction of partial melts with eclogitic and peridotitic lithologies may have produced the intermediate websteritic inclusion compositions, and can explain diamonds of mixed parageneses, and the overlap in C-isotope values between parageneses. Strong deformation and extremely high nitrogen aggregation states in some diamonds may indicate high mantle storage temperatures and strain in the diamond growth environment. A second diamond group, with Type IaA-IaB nitrogen aggregation and peridotitic inclusions, crystallised at the base of the cratonic lithosphere. All diamonds were subsequently sampled by kimberlites and transported to the Earth's surface. Crown

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-111
    Number of pages13
    Issue number1-4 SPEC. ISS.
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004


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