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A rare occurrence of a crater-filling clastogenic extrusive coherent kimberlite, Victor Northwest (Ontario, Canada)


Kimberlite pipes can contain significant proportions of dark and dense kimberlite that have mostly been interpreted as intrusive coherent (hypabyssal) in origin. This study reports a well-documented occurrence of a fresh intra-crater clastogenic extrusive coherent kimberlite that is concluded to have formed as a result of lava fountaining. This paper focuses on a dark, dense, competent, generally crystal-rich, massive kimberlite unit within the Victor Northwest kimberlite pipe (Ontario, Canada). Using a comprehensive volcanological and petrographic analysis of all available drill cores, it is shown that this unit has a fresh well-crystallised coherent groundmass and is extrusive and pyroclastic in origin. The proposed clastogenic coherent extrusive origin is based on deposit morphology, gradational contacts to enveloping pyroclastic units, as well as the presence of remnant pyroclast outlines and angular broken olivines. This paper, and an increasing number of other studies, suggest that fragmental extrusive coherent kimberlite in intra-crater settings may be more common than previously thought. The emplacement history and volcanology of these pipes need to be reconsidered based on the emerging importance of this particular kimberlite facies.

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The results presented in this paper were collected as part of a Ph.D. project by BvS on the volcanology and petrology of the Victor North kimberlite pipes. We would like to thank De Beers Canada Inc. for its financial support and its permission to publish this paper. Special thanks goes to Kimberley Webb for sharing her extensive knowledge of the Victor kimberlite during the first two years of this research project. This research would not have been possible without the extensive logistical assistance of De Beers’ employees in Sudbury and Toronto; in this regard, we would especially like to thank Stephan Kurszlaukis, Brad Wood, Cliff Revering, Don Boucher, Claude Bouffard, Dwayne Thomson and Grant Wu. Thanks also to A. Pittari and P. Hayman for constructive criticism that helped improve this manuscript, as well as Stephen Moss for providing us with a sample from the Diavik mine. This research is financially supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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Correspondence to Bram I. van Straaten.

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This paper constitutes part of a special issue: Cas RAF, Russell JK, Sparks RSJ (eds) Advances in Kimberlite Volcanology and Geology.

Editorial responsibility: R.A.F. Cas

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van Straaten, B.I., Kopylova, M.G., Russell, J.K. et al. A rare occurrence of a crater-filling clastogenic extrusive coherent kimberlite, Victor Northwest (Ontario, Canada). Bull Volcanol 73, 1047–1062 (2011).

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  • Kimberlite
  • Volcanic pipe
  • Extrusive coherent kimberlite
  • Clastogenic deposit
  • Coalescence
  • Lava fountaining