Paper No. 81-2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM
FORMATION OF OPHIOLITE-HOSTED DIAMONDS BY DEEP SUBDUCTION OF OCEANIC LITHOSPHERE: EVIDENCE FROM MINERAL INCLUSIONS
In recent years we have confirmed the existence of ophiolite-hosted diamonds on Earth, which occur in mantle peridotites and podiform chromitites of many ophiolites. These diamonds differ significantly from most kimberlite varieties, particularly in their inclusions. The typical inclusions in the diamonds are Mn-rich phases, i.e., NiMnCo alloy, native Mn, MnO, galaxite, Mn olivine and Mn garnet. Ca-silicate perovskite, a typical lower mantle mineral, was identified as mineral inclusions in diamond. One occurs as a 60-nanometer, euhedral grain associated with NiMnCo alloy and graphite, while another one occurs as a 50-nanometer grain within a large inclusion containing both NiMnCo alloy and Nd-Se-Cu-S phase. By EDS the perovskite has Ca 48.3%, Si 37.7% and Mn 14.1% with oxygen. TEM diffraction data show that the inclusion has d-spacings and angles between adjacent lattice planes are consistent to the Ca-silicate perovskite with an orthorhombic structure. The only known source of such light carbon is organic material in surface sediments and the best known sources of abundant manganese are Fe-Mn-rich sediments and Mn nodules, both of which are common on the seafloor. Many parts of the modern seafloor are also covered by sediments with a continental provenance. Phases such as SiO2 and Al2O3 are not expected in mantle peridotites and must have been introduced from shallow levels. We propose that subduction of oceanic lithosphere carries C, Mn, Si, Al and REE to the transition zone or lower mantle where the material is mixed with highly reduced material, perhaps derived from greater depths. Crystallization of diamond from a C-rich fluid encapsulates the observed inclusions. The diamonds and associated minerals are incorporated into chromite grains during chromite crystallization at depth of mantle transition zone, and are carried to shallower levels by mantle convection. Accumulation of chromite grains produces podiform chromitites containing a range of exotic minerals. However, the presence of diamonds and other UHP minerals in ophiolitic peridotites indicates that such phases can persist far outside their normal stability fields.