Mineralogy of the lower mantle: A review of 'super-deep' mineral inclusions in diamond

Felix Kaminsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

227 Citations (Scopus)


Starting from the late 1980s, several groups of lower-mantle mineral inclusions in diamond have been found. Three associations were established among them: juvenile ultramafic, analogous to eclogitic, and carbonatitic. The juvenile ultramafic association strongly predominates, and it is composed of ferropericlase, MgSi-, CaSi- and CaTi-perovskites, stishovite, tetragonal almandine-pyrope phase (TAPP), and some others. The association analogous to the upper-mantle eclogitic association, formed from subducting lithosphere, comprises: majorite, CaSi-perovskite bearing compositional Eu anomalies, phase 'Egg' with a tetragonal structure, and stishovite. The carbonatitic association is represented by various carbonates, halides, and associated minerals. Some mineral associations (wüstite. +. periclase and native iron + iron carbides) are, possibly, related to the D″ layer at the core/mantle boundary. The mineralogical composition of the lower mantle is now understood to be more complex than had been suggested in theoretic and experimental works. The proportion of ferropericlase in the lower mantle is higher than it was suggested before, and its composition is more iron-rich (mg=0.36-0.90) as compared to experimental and theoretical data. Free silica (stishovite) is always present in lower-mantle associations, and a separate aluminous phase (TAPP) has been identified in several areas. These discrepancies suggest that the composition of the lower mantle differs to that of the upper-mantle, and experiments based solely on 'pyrolitic' compositions are not, therefore, applicable to the lower mantle. These data indicate a probability of an alternative to the CI-chondrite model of the Earth's formation, for example, an enstatite-chondrite model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-147
Number of pages21
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • D″ layer
  • Diamond
  • Ferropericlase
  • Lower mantle
  • Stishovite
  • TAPP


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