, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 233-242
Date: 11 Jul 2009

Structural defects in natural plastically deformed diamonds: Evidence from EPR spectroscopy

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Abstract

Structural defects formed as a result of plastic deformation in natural diamond crystals have been studied by EPR spectroscopy. The spectra of brown, pink-brown, black-brown, pink-purple, and gray plastically deformed diamonds of type Ia from deposits in Yakutia and the Urals were recorded. The results of EPR spectroscopy allowed us to identify various deformation centers in the structure of natural diamonds and to show that nitrogen centers were transformed under epigenetic mechanical loading. Abundant A centers, consisting of two isomorphic nitrogen atoms located in neighboring structural sites, were destroyed as a result of this process to form a series of N1, N4, W7, M2, and M3 nitrogen centers. Such centers are characterized by an anisotropic spatial distribution and a positive charge, related to the mechanism of their formation. In addition, N2 centers (probably, deformation-produced dislocations decorated by nitrogen) were formed in all plastically deformed diamonds and W10 and W35 centers (the models have not been finally ascertained) were formed in some of them. It has been established that diamonds with various types of deformation-induced color contain characteristic associations of these deformation centers. The diversity of associations of deformation centers indicates appreciable variations in conditions of disintegration of deep-seated rocks, transfer of diamonds to the Earth’s surface, and formation of kimberlitic deposits. Depending on the conditions of mechanical loading, the diamond crystals were plastically deformed by either dislocation gliding or mechanical twinning. Characteristic features of plastic deformation by dislocation gliding are the substantial prevalence of the N2 centers over other deformation centers and the occurrence of the high-spin W10 and W35 centers. The attributes of less frequent plastic deformation by mechanical twinning are unusual localization of the M2 centers and, in some cases, the N1 centers in microtwinned lamellae. Numerous data on models of deformation centers in natural diamonds, including the M2 and M3 centers, which were observed in the studied collection for the first time, are discussed.

Original Russian Text © R.M. Mineeva, S.V. Titkov, A.V. Speransky, 2009, published in Geologiya Rudnykh Mestorozhdenii, 2009, Vol. 51, No. 3, pp. 261–271.