Inclusions of nanocrystalline hydrous aluminium silicate "Phase Egg" in superdeep diamonds from Juina (Mato Grosso State, Brazil)

Richard Wirth*, Christian Vollmer, Frank Brenker, Stanislav Matsyuk, Felix Kaminsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


Inclusions in alluvial diamond from Juina (Mato Grosso, Brazil) have been investigated by TEM methods (electron diffraction, HRTEM, AEM, HAADF, EELS) and Raman spectroscopy. The inclusion paragenesis of Juina diamonds is dominated by ultrahigh-pressure ("superdeep") phases. One of these diamonds, sample #1.1/4, contains several micrometer-sized (approximately 200 μm by 50-70 μm) inclusions, which have been studied. TEM foils prepared applying Focused Ion Beam (FIB) technique revealed that these inclusions consist of a porous, nanocrystalline groundmass, which is composed of nanometre-sized crystals of a hydrous aluminium silicate phase with Al:Si approximately 1:1 and chemical composition of phase "Egg" (AlSiO 3(OH)), a minor volume fraction of nanocrystalline stishovite and pore space, which was originally filled with a fluid or gas. The nanocrystalline hydrous aluminium silicate phase is idiomorphic, randomly oriented (approximately 20-30 nm in size) predominantly with tetragonal crystal structure (a 0 = 0.743 nm, c 0 = 0.706 nm). The monoclinic structure of synthetic phase "Egg" determined at ambient conditions [M.W. Schmidt, L.W. Finger, R.J. Ross, R.E. Dinnebier, Synthesis, crystal structure, and phase relations of AlSiO 3OH, a high-pressure hydrous phase, American Mineralogist 83 (1998) 881 - 888] is only occasionally observed. The fluid filling in the porosity has been released into the vacuum of the FIB during TEM specimen preparation. Quench products of the fluid containing minor concentrations of F- P- S- Cl- K- Ca and Ba were detected at the walls of the pores. In addition phase "Egg" is identified by μ-Raman spectroscopy within a second sample (RS 43a) from the same location. The presence of Phase "Egg" in the inclusions in diamond may suggest that crustal material has been subducted to a depth of the lower Transition Zone. Although, metastable growth of nanocrystalline high-pressure phases or extension of their respective stability fields to lower pressure can not ruled out completely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-399
Number of pages16
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • crustal material
  • diamond
  • inclusion
  • mantle
  • subduction
  • TEM


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