Djerfisherite in kimberlites and their xenoliths: implications for kimberlite melt evolution

  • Adam AbersteinerEmail author
  • Vadim S. Kamenetsky
  • Karsten Goemann
  • Alexander V. Golovin
  • Igor S. Sharygin
  • Andrea Giuliani
  • Thomas Rodemann
  • Zdislav V. Spetsius
  • Maya Kamenetsky
Original Paper


Djerfisherite (K6(Fe,Ni,Cu)25S26Cl) occurs as an accessory phase in the groundmass of many kimberlites, kimberlite-hosted mantle xenoliths, and as a daughter inclusion phase in diamonds and kimberlitic minerals. Djerfisherite typically occurs as replacement of pre-existing Fe–Ni–Cu sulphides (i.e. pyrrhotite, pentlandite and chalcopyrite), but can also occur as individual grains, or as poikilitic phase in the groundmass of kimberlites. In this study, we present new constraints on the origin and genesis of djerfisherite in kimberlites and their entrained xenoliths. Djerfisherite has extremely heterogeneous compositions in terms of Fe, Ni and Cu ratios. However, there appears to be no distinct compositional range of djerfisherite indicative of a particular setting (i.e. kimberlites, xenoliths or diamonds), rather this compositional diversity reflects the composition of the host kimberlite melt and/or interacting metasomatic medium. In addition, djerfisherite may contain K and Cl contents less than the ideal formula unit. Raman spectroscopy and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) revealed that these K–Cl poor sulphides still maintain the same djerfisherite crystal structure. Two potential mechanisms for djerfisherite formation are considered: (1) replacement of pre-existing Fe–Ni–Cu sulphides by djerfisherite, which is attributed to precursor sulphides reacting with metasomatic K–Cl bearing melts/fluids in the mantle or the transporting kimberlite melt; (2) direct crystallisation of djerfisherite from the kimberlite melt in groundmass or due to kimberlite melt infiltration into xenoliths. The occurrence of djerfisherite in kimberlites and its mantle cargo from localities worldwide provides strong evidence that the metasomatising/infiltrating kimberlite melt/fluid was enriched in K and Cl. We suggest that kimberlites originated from melts that were more enriched in alkalis and halogens relative to their whole-rock compositions.


Djerfisherite Kimberlite Sulphides Metasomatism Potassium Chlorine Diamond 



The constructive comments by Keith Putirka and the five anonymous reviewers contributed to improving this manuscript and are gratefully acknowledged. This study has benefited from the efficient editorial handling by Chris Ballhaus. This study forms part of A.A’s Ph.D. and was supported by the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). We thank Sergei Kostrovitsky for sharing wehrlite sample UV01-332. This is contribution 1232 from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems ( and 1271 in the GEMOC Key Centre ( This work was supported by funding by Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant (DP130100257, 2013–2015) and University of Tasmania (New Star Professorship, 2010–2014) to V. Kamenetsky. AVG and IS were supported by the Russian state assignment project No 0330-2019-0009 and Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Grant no. 16-35-60052 mol_a_dk). AG receives funding from the ARC through a DECRA fellowship (Grant no. DE-150100009).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Abersteiner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vadim S. Kamenetsky
    • 1
  • Karsten Goemann
    • 2
  • Alexander V. Golovin
    • 3
    • 4
  • Igor S. Sharygin
    • 3
  • Andrea Giuliani
    • 5
    • 6
  • Thomas Rodemann
    • 2
  • Zdislav V. Spetsius
    • 7
  • Maya Kamenetsky
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Physical SciencesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Central Science LaboratoryUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.Sоbоlеv Institute of Geology and MineralogySiberian Вrаnсh Russian Academy of SciencesNovosibirskRussian Federation
  4. 4.Novosibirsk State UniversityNovosibirskRussian Federation
  5. 5.KiDs (Kimberlites and Diamonds), School of Earth SciencesThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  6. 6.ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems (CCFS) and GEMOC, Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  7. 7.Geo-Scientific Investigation EnterpriseALROSA PJSCMirnyRussia

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