40Ar/39Ar laser-probe dating of diamond inclusions from the Premier kimberlite

D. Phillips*, T. C. Onstott, J. W. Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

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INCLUSIONS encapsulated by diamonds at the time of their formation provide a means for determining diamond crystallization ages and the chemistry of the surrounding upper mantle at that time. Sm-Nd studies of peridotitic inclusions, from Cretaceous-age kimberlites in southern Africa, suggest that the diamonds formed 3.3 Gyr ago. By contrast, eclogite-suite inclusions generally yield younger ages, sometimes approaching the time of kimberlite eruption. Here we report the results of 40Ar/39Ar laser-probe analyses of individual eclogitic clinopyroxene inclusions from Premier diamonds, which yield a mean age of 1,198 ± 14 Myr. This age agrees well with Sm-Nd (ref. 2) and 40Ar/39Ar (ref. 3) analyses on similar Premier inclusions, and is indistinguishable from the inferred time of emplacement of the host kimberlite (1,150-1,230 Myr)2, which implies that diamond formation was essentially synchronous with kimberlite generation. The extrapolated non-radiogenic 40Ar/36Ar ratio of 334 ± 102 is similar to the present-day atmospheric composition. This value is inconsistent with Sr and Nd isotopic signatures from Premier eclogite inclusion, which suggest a depleted mantle source (40Ar/36Ar > 20,000). Pre-entrap-ment equilibration of the inclusions with an 36Ar-rich fluid is the most probable explanation for the low non-radiogenic (40Ar/36Ar) composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-462
Number of pages3
Issue number6233
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

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    Phillips, D., Onstott, T. C., & Harris, J. W. (1989). 40Ar/39Ar laser-probe dating of diamond inclusions from the Premier kimberlite. Nature, 340(6233), 460-462.