Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 105, Issue 6, pp 637–649 | Cite as

Diffusion gradients in an eclogite xenolith from the Roberts Victor kimberlite pipe: (2) kinetics and implications for petrogenesis

  • Violaine Sautter
  • Ben Harte


In a bimineralic eclogite xenolith (sample JJG41) from the Roberts Victor kimberlite, compositional gradients in clinopyroxene are related to garnet exsolution. Two principal reactions involving clinopyroxene and garnet occur: (i) The net-transfer Al2Si-1Mg-1 which is responsible for garnet growth according to the equation 2Di+Al2Si-1Mg-1=Grossular+MgCa-1 (reaction 1). This has created substantial compositional gradients in Al, Si and Mg within clinopyroxene. (ii) The exchange of Fe−Mg between garnet and clinopyroxene (reaction 2). During the stage of garnet growth (reaction 1) the lamellae crystallized sequentially as a result of a temperature decrease from around 1400 to 1200° C. This exsolution growth-stage was under the control of Al diffusion in clinopyroxene and at around 1200° C further growth of garnet lamellae became impeded by the sluggishness of Al diffusion in the clinopyroxene host. However, reaction 2 continued during further cooling down to about 1000° C; this temperature being inferred from the constant Fe−Mg partitioning at clinopyroxene-garnet interfaces for the whole set of lamellae. The initial clinopyroxene in JJG41 was probably formed by crystallization from a melt in Archaean time. The cessation of Fe−Mg exchange between garnet and clinopyroxene at about 1000° C may well predate the eruption of the eclogite in kimberlite at around 100 Ma. Kinetic models of reaction are examined for both reactions. Modelling of reaction 1, involving both diffusion and interface migration, allows several means of estimating the diffusion coefficient of Al in clinopyroxene; the estimates are in the range 10-16-10-20 cm2/s at 1200° C. These estimates bracket the experimentally determined data for Al diffusion in clinopyroxene, and from these experimental data a preferred cooling rate of about 300° C/Ma is obtained for the period of growth of garnet exsolution lamellae. A ‘geospeedometry’ approach (Lasaga 1983) suitable for a pure-exchange process (reaction 2) is used to estimate the cooling rate in the later stages of the thermal history (after garnet growth); values 4–40° C/Ma are consistent with the shape of the Fe-diffusion gradients in the clinopyroxene. The extensive thermal history recorded by JJG41, including probable melt involvement at ca. 1400° C, demonstrates the complex evolution of rocks within the mantle. Whilst the notion of formation of mantle eclogites from subducted oceanic crust has become fashionable, it is clear that tracing eclogite geochemical and P-T characteristics backwards from their nature at the time of xenolith eruption, through high-temperature mantle events to the characteristics of the original subducted oceanic crust, will be very complex.


Oceanic Crust Thermal History Kimberlite Pipe Compositional Gradient Garnet Growth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Violaine Sautter
    • 1
  • Ben Harte
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géophysique et Géodynamique InterneUniversité Paris-SudOrsay CedexFrance
  2. 2.Grant Institute of GeologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotland, UK

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