Trace-element patterns of fibrous and monocrystalline diamonds: Insights into mantle fluids

S. Rege, W. L. Griffin*, N. J. Pearson, D. Araujo, D. Zedgenizov, S. Y. O'Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    48 Citations (Scopus)


    During their growth diamonds may trap micron-scale inclusions of the fluids from which they grew, and these "time capsules" provide insights into the metasomatic processes that have modified the subcontinental lithospheric mantle. LAM-ICPMS analysis of trace elements in > 500 fibrous and monocrystalline diamonds worldwide has been used to understand the nature of these fluids. Analyses of fibrous diamonds define two general types of pattern, a "fibrous-high" (FH) one with high contents of LREE, Ba and K, and a "fibrous-low" (FL) pattern characterized by depletion in LREE/MREE, Ba and K, negative anomalies in Sr and Y, and subchondritic Zr/Hf and Nb/Ta. Both types may be found in fibrous diamonds from single deposits, and in three Yakutian pipes some diamonds show abrupt transitions from inclusion-rich cores with FH patterns to clearer rims with FL patterns. Most monocrystalline diamonds show FL-type patterns, but some have patterns that resemble those of FH fibrous diamonds.Peridotitic and eclogitic monocrystalline diamonds may show either patterns with relatively flat REE, or patterns with more strongly depleted LREE. Kimberlites that contain peridotitic diamonds with "high" patterns also contain eclogitic diamonds with "high" patterns. Strong similarities in the patterns of these two groups of diamonds may suggest high fluid/rock ratios. Many diamonds of the "superdeep" paragenesis have trace-element patterns similar to those of other monocrystalline diamonds. This may be evidence that the trace-element compositions of deep-seated fluids are generally similar to those that form diamonds in the subcontinental lithospheric mantle.The element fractionations observed between the FH and FL patterns are consistent with the immiscible separation of a silicic fluid from a carbonatite-silicate fluid, leaving a residual carbonatitic fluid strongly enriched in LREE, Ba and alkalies. This model would suggest that most monocrystalline diamonds crystallized from the more silicic fraction.Comparison with studies of single fluid inclusions in fibrous diamonds suggests that the FH patterns reflect trapped inclusions of high-Mg and low-Mg carbonatitic high-density fluids. In terms of the rock-forming elements, the fluids that precipitated the rims of some fibrous diamonds (FL pattern) and most monocrystalline diamonds are broadly similar to some hydro-silicic high-density fluids found in fibrous diamonds. However, there are still significant differences between the trace-element patterns of most monocrystalline diamonds and known high-density fluids, and further research is required to understand the formation and growth of these diamonds.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)313-337
    Number of pages25
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


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