Volatile composition of microinclusions in diamonds from the Panda kimberlite, Canada

Implications for chemical and isotopic heterogeneity in the mantle

Ray Burgess*, Pierre Cartigny, Darrell Harrison, Emily Hobson, Jeff Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


In order to better investigate the compositions and the origins of fluids associated with diamond growth, we have carried-out combined noble gas (He and Ar), C and N isotope, K, Ca and halogen (Cl, Br, I) determinations on fragments of individual microinclusion-bearing diamonds from the Panda kimberlite, North West Territories, Canada. The fluid concentrations of halogens and noble gases in Panda diamonds are enriched by several orders of magnitude over typical upper mantle abundances. However, noble gas, C and N isotopic ratios (3He/4He = 4-6 Ra, 40Ar/36Ar = 20,000-30,000, δ13C = -4.5‰ to -6.9‰ and δ15N = -1.2‰ to -8.8‰) are within the worldwide range determined for fibrous diamonds and similar to the mid ocean ridge basalt (MORB) source value. The high 36Ar content of the diamonds (>1 × 10-9 cm3/g) is at least an order of magnitude higher than any previously reported mantle sample and enables the 36Ar content of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle to be estimated at ∼0.6 × 10-12 cm3/g, again similar to estimates for the MORB source. Three fluid types distinguished on the basis of Ca-K-Cl compositions are consistent with carbonatitic, silicic and saline end-members identified in previous studies of diamonds from worldwide sources. These fluid end-members also have distinct halogen ratios (Br/Cl and I/Cl). The role of subducted seawater-derived halogens, originally invoked to explain some of the halogen ratio variations in diamonds, is not considered an essential component in the formation of the fluids. In contrast, it is considered that large halogen fractionation of a primitive mantle ratio occurs during fluid-melt partitioning in forming silicic fluids, and during separation of an immiscible saline fluid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1779-1794
Number of pages16
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

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