Original Paper

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 150, Issue 5, pp 505-522

First online:

Diamonds from Jagersfontein (South Africa): messengers from the sublithospheric mantle

  • Ralf TappertAffiliated withDepartment of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta Email author 
  • , Thomas StachelAffiliated withDepartment of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta
  • , Jeff W. HarrisAffiliated withDivision of Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow
  • , Karlis MuehlenbachsAffiliated withDepartment of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta
  • , Thomas LudwigAffiliated withInstitut für Mineralogie, Ruprecht Karls Universität
  • , Gerhard P. BreyAffiliated withInstitut für Mineralogie, J.W. Goethe Universität

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The diamond population from the Jagersfontein kimberlite is characterized by a high abundance of eclogitic, besides peridotitic and a small group of websteritic diamonds. The majority of inclusions indicate that the diamonds are formed in the subcratonic lithospheric mantle. Inclusions of the eclogitic paragenesis, which generally have a wide compositional range, include two groups of eclogitic garnets (high and low Ca) which are also distinct in their rare earth element composition. Within the eclogitic and websteritic suite, diamonds with inclusions of majoritic garnets were found, which provide evidence for their formation within the asthenosphere and transition zone. Unlike the lithospheric garnets all majoritic garnet inclusions show negative Eu-anomalies. A narrow range of isotopically light carbon compositions (δ13C −17 to −24 ‰) of the host diamonds suggests that diamond formation in the sublithospheric mantle is principally different to that in the lithosphere. Direct conversion from graphite in a subducting slab appears to be the main mechanism responsible for diamond formation in this part of the Earth’s mantle beneath the Kaapvaal Craton. The peridotitic inclusion suite at Jagersfontein is similar to other diamond deposits on the Kaapvaal Craton and characterized by harzburgitic to low-Ca harzburgitic compositions.