Sulfide inclusion chemistry and carbon isotopes of African diamonds

Peter Deines*, J. W. Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


Significant differences in the composition of sulfide mineral inclusions among diamond suites from Koffiefontein, Orapa, Premier, Roberts Victor, Jagersfontein, Sierra Leone, Star, and Mwadui have been found. The mode of the Ni content of the monosulfide (mss) inclusions lies between 8 and 10 wt%, i.e., between the means for mss from Siberian diamonds with inclusion of the eclogitic (3 wt% Ni) and peridotitic (23 wt% Ni) paragenesis. Considering the Ni Fe ratios of the diamond mss inclusions and mantle olivines, together with experimental and naturally observed Ni Fe distribution coefficients, we conclude that less than 20% of the mss inclusions of the African diamonds (mostly from Koffiefontein) could have been in chemical equilibrium with mantle olivine. This observation is in sharp contrast with the reported relative abundance of silicate inclusions in Koffiefontein diamonds (93% peridotitic, 7% eclogitic) and lends support to the proposal that a separate sulfide diamond paragenesis should be recognized. The δ 13C distributions of sulfide containing diamonds differs among kimberlites, however, for each kimberlite sulfide and silicate inclusion containing diamonds cover the same δ 13C range. Sulfides with high Ni concentrations can occur in diamonds of low as well as high 13C content. The current observations, in conjunction with other chemical properties of diamonds suggest that fluid reactions rather than silica melt equilibria may be important in diamond formation. A dominance of fluid processes would have significant implications for the interpretation of the chemical and geochronological record of diamond inclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3173-3188
Number of pages16
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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