Diamonds and the Geology of Mantle Carbon | INSTITUT DE PHYSIQUE DU GLOBE DE PARIS

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  Diamonds and the Geology of Mantle Carbon

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Carbon in Earth, Volume 75, p.355-421 (2013)

ISBN:

1529-6466

Keywords:

UMR 7154 ; Physico-chimie des Fluides Géologiques

Abstract:

Earth’s carbon, derived from planetesimals in the 1 AU region during accretion of the Solar System, still retains similarities to carbon found in meteorites (Marty et al. 2013) even after 4.57 billion years of geological processing. The range in isotopic composition of carbon on Earth versus meteorites is nearly identical and, for both, diamond is a common, if volumetrically minor, carbon mineral (Haggerty 1999). Diamond is one of the three native carbon minerals on Earth (the other two being graphite and lonsdaleite). It can crystallize throughout the mantle below about 150 km and can occur metastably in the crust. Diamond is a rare mineral, occurring at the part-per-billion level even within the most diamondiferous volcanic host rock although some rare eclogites have been known to contain 10–15% diamond. As a trace mineral it is unevenly distributed and, except for occurrences in metamorphosed crustal rocks, it is a xenocrystic phase within the series of volcanic rocks (kimberlites, lamproites, ultramafic lamprohyres), which bring it to the surface and host it. The occurrence of diamond on Earth’s surface results from its unique resistance to alteration/dissolution and the sometimes accidental circumstances of its sampling by the volcanic host rock. Diamonds are usually the chief minerals left from their depth of formation, because intact diamondiferous mantle xenoliths are rare.