Superdeep diamonds from the Juina area, Mato Grosso State, Brazil

F. Kaminsky, O. Zakharchenko, R. Davies, W. Griffin, G. Khachatryan-Blinova, A. Shiryaev

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    170 Citations (Scopus)


    Alluvial diamonds from the Juina area in Mato Grosso, Brazil, have been characterized in terms of their morphology, syngenetic mineral inclusions, carbon isotopes and nitrogen contents. Morphologically, they are similar to other Brazilian diamonds, showing a strong predominance of rounded dodecahedral crystals. However, other characteristics of the Juina diamonds make them unique. The inclusion parageneses of Juina diamonds are dominated by ultra-high-pressure ("superdeep") phases that differ both from "traditional" syngenetic minerals associated with diamonds and, in detail, from most other superdeep assemblages. Ferropericlase is the dominant inclusion in the Juina diamonds. It coexists with ilmenite, Cr-Ti spinel, a phase with the major-element composition of olivine, and SiO2. CaSi-perovskite inclusions coexist with titanite (sphene), "olivine" and native Ni. MgSi-perovskite coexists with TAPP (tetragonal almandine-pyrope phase). Majoritic garnet occurs in one diamond, associated with CaTi-perovskite, Mn-ilmenite and an unidentified Si-Mg phase. Neither Cr-pyrope nor Mg-chromite was found as inclusions. The spinel inclusions are low in Cr and Mg, and high in Ti (Cr2O3 < 36.5 wt%, and TiO2 > 10 wt%). Most ilmenite inclusions have low MgO contents, and some have very high (up to 11.5 wt%) MnO contents. The rare "olivine" inclusions coexisting with ferropericlase have low Mg# (87-89), and higher Ca, Cr and Zn contents than typical diamond-inclusion olivines. They are interpreted as inverted from spinel-structured (Mg, Fe)2Si2O4. This suite of inclusions is consistent with derivation of most of the diamonds from depths near 670 km, and adds ilmenite and relatively low-Cr, high-Ti spinel to the known phases of the superdeep paragenesis. Diamonds from the Juina area are characterized by a narrow range of carbon isotopic composition (δ13C= -7.8 to -2.5‰), except for the one majorite-bearing diamond (δ13C = -11.4‰). There are high proportions of nitrogen-free and low-nitrogen diamonds, and the aggregated B center is predominant in nitrogen-containing diamonds. These observations have practical consequences for diamond exploration: Low-Mg olivine, low-Mg and high-Mn ilmenite, and low-Cr spinel should be included in the list of diamond indicator minerals, and the role of high-Cr, low-Ti spinel as the only spinel associated with diamond, and hence as a criterion of diamond grade in kimberlites, should be reconsidered.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)734-753
    Number of pages20
    JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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