Oxygen isotope composition of syngenetic inclusions in diamond from the Finsch Mine, RSA

David Lowry, David P. Mattey, Jeffrey W. Harris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Oxygen isotope data have been obtained for silicate inclusions in diamonds, and similar associated minerals in peridotitic and eclogitic xenoliths from the Finsch kimberlite by laser-fluorination. Oxygen isotope analyses of syngenetic inclusions weighing 20-400 μg have been obtained by laser heating in the presence of ClF3. 18O/16O ratios are determined on oxygen converted to CO2 over hot graphite and, for samples weighing less than 750 μg (producing <12 μmoles O2) enhanced CO production in the graphite reactor causes a systematic shift in both δ13C and δ18O that varies as a function of sample weight. A 'pressure effect' correction procedure, based on the magnitude of δ13C (CO2) depletion relative to δ13C (graphite), is used to obtain corrected δ18O values for inclusions with an accuracy estimated to be ±0.3‰ for samples weighing 40 μg. Syngenetic inclusions in host diamonds with similar δ13C values (-8.4‰ to -2.7‰) have oxygen isotope compositions that vary significantly, with a clear distinction between inclusions of peridotitic (+4.6‰ to +5.6‰) and eclogitic paragenesis (+5.7‰ to +8.0‰). The mean δ18O composition of olivine inclusions is indistinguishable from that of typical peridotitic mantle (5.25 ± 0.22‰) whereas syngenetic purple garnet inclusions possess relatively low δ18O values (5.00 ± 0.33‰). Reversed oxygen isotope fractionation between olivine and garnet in both diamond inclusions and diamondiferous peridotite xenoliths suggests that garnet preserves subtle isotopic disequilibrium related to genesis of Cr-rich garnet and/or exchange with the diamond-forming fluid. Garnet in eclogite xenoliths in kimberlite show a range of δ18O values from +2.3‰ to +7.3‰ but garnets in diamondiferous eclogites and as inclusions in diamond all have values >4.7‰.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1825-1836
Number of pages12
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


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