Advertisement

Diamond Pipes: The Diamond Deposits of Argyle, Western Australia

  • Peter C. Keller

Abstract

One of the few windows through the earth’s relatively thin crust into its underlying mantle is the diatreme or pipe that occasionally has pierced the crust to bring mantle material such as diamond to the surface (Fig. 9–1). Experimental work has shown that most synthetic diamonds generally must have very high temperatures (2,000°C) and pressures (70,000 kg/cm2) to form. In nature these conditions exist only at depths of at least 200 km below the earth’s surface. Material formed at these depths comes to the surface in pipes, which may be thought of as a very special type of volcano that taps depths as great as 350 km below the earth’s surface. The volcanic rock type found in these pipes is called kimberlite, named for its type area of Kimberley, South Africa. Since its discovery in 1871, the Kimberley area has yielded more than 200 million carats of diamond and a wealth of geologic information about kimberlite pipes and the earth’s upper mantle.

Keywords

Kimberlite Pipe Diamond Deposit Kimberley Region Porphyritic Kimberlite Kimberlitic Rock 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Argyle Diamond Mines Joint Venture Project Briefing. 1985. Private Report. 95 pages.Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, W. J. 1987. The exploration and development of Australian diamond. Industrial Diamond Review (January):1-8.Google Scholar
  3. Atkinson, W. J., F. E. Hughes, and C. B. Smith. 1982. A review of the kimberlitic rocks of Western Australia (abstract). Terra Cognita 2:204.Google Scholar
  4. Atkinson, W. J., F. E. Hughes, and C. B. Smith. 1984a. A review of the kimberlitic rocks of Western Australia, 195-224. In J. Kornprobst, ed., Kimberlites 1: Kimberlites and Related Rocks. Elsevier, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  5. Atkinson, W. J., C. B. Smith, and G. L. Boxer. 1984b. The discovery and evaluation of the Ellendale and Argyle lamproite diamond deposits, Kimberley Region, Western Australia. Denver, SME Conference, 1984.Google Scholar
  6. Bofinger, V. M. 1967. Geochronology of the east Kimberley area of Western Australia. Ph.D. Thesis (unpublished), Australian National University.Google Scholar
  7. Boxer, G. L., C. B. Smith, and V. Lorenz. 1986. Geology and volcanology of Argyle AK 1 lamproite diatreme. 4th Int. Kimberlite Conf. (Perth), Extended Abstracts.Google Scholar
  8. Boyd, F. R., and L. W. Finger. 1976. Homogeneity of minerals in mantle rocks from Lesotho. Ann. Rept. Dir. Geophys. Lab. 1975.76:519–528.Google Scholar
  9. Clement, C. R., and E. M. W. Skinner. 1979. A texturalgenetic classification of kimberlite rocks. Kimberlite Symp. III, Univ. Cambridge, 4 pages.Google Scholar
  10. Clement, C. R., E. M. W. Skinner, and B. H. Scott Smith. 1977. Kimberlite redefined. 2d International Kimberlite Conf., Santa Fe, Abstracts (unpublished).Google Scholar
  11. Clement, C. R., E. M. W. Skinner, and B. H. Scott Smith. 1984. Kimberlite redefined. Jour. Geol. 92:223–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dow, D. B., and I. Gemuts. 1969. Geology of Kimberley Region, Western Australia: The East Kimberley. Australia BMR, Bull. 200.Google Scholar
  13. Ferguson, J., and J. W. Sheraton, 1979. Petrogenesis of kimberlitic rocks and associated xenoliths of southeastern Australia, 140–160. In F. R. Boyd and H. O. A. Meyer, eds., Kimberlites, Diatremes, and Diamonds: (1) Their Geology, Petrology, and Geochemistry. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C. 400 pages.Google Scholar
  14. Fumey, P. 1985. Le pipe d’Argyle. Revue de Gemmologie a.f.g. 2:18–20.Google Scholar
  15. Geach, C. L. 1986. Diamond Exploration in Western Australia. Geology Today 2(1).16–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Groom, F. F. 1896. Report of a visit to Bullagine, Pibara district, to examine the country reported to be diamond yielding. West Australia Dept. Mines Ann. Rept. (1895): 27.Google Scholar
  17. Guilbert, J. M., and C. F. Park, Jr. 1986. The Geology of Ore Deposits. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York. 385 pages.Google Scholar
  18. Hall, A. E., and C. B. Smith. 1984. Lamproite diamonds: Are they different? 167-212. In J. E. Glover and P. G. Harris, eds., Kimberlite Occurrence and Origin. University of Western Australia Geology Dept., Publ. 8.Google Scholar
  19. Hancock, S. L., and R. W. R. Rutland. 1984. Tectonics of an early Proterozoic geosuture: The Halls Creek orogenic subprovince, northern Australia. Jour. Geodynamics 1:387–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hardman, E. T. 1884. Report of the geology of the Kimberley district, Western Australia. West Australia Parlt. Papers (1884): 31.Google Scholar
  21. Hawthorne, J. B. 1975. Model of a kimberlite pipe. Phys. Chem. Earth 9:1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hofer, S. C. 1985. Pink Diamonds from Australia. Gems & Gemology 21(3):147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jaques, A. L., J. Ferguson, and C. B. Smith. 1984. Kimberlites in Australia, 227-274. In J. E. Glover and P. G. Harris, Kimberlite Occurrence and Origin. University of Western Australia Geology Dept., Publ. 8.Google Scholar
  24. Jaques, A. L., J. D. Lewis, and C. B. Smith. 1986. The Kimberlites and Lamproites of Western Australia. Geological Survey of Western Australia Bulletin 132. 268 pages.Google Scholar
  25. Kennedy, G. C., and B. E. Nordlie. 1968. The genesis of diamond deposits. Econ. Geol. 63:495–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McNevin, A. A. 1977. Diamonds in New South Wales. New South Wales Geological Survey, Min. Res. Bull. 42.Google Scholar
  27. Meakins, A. 1983. Geology and genesis of the Argyle alluvial diamond deposits, Kimberley region, Western Australia, 54-56. R. Davy, C. R. M. Butt, and T. A. Ballinger, eds., In Geochemical Exploration in Arid and Deeply Weathered Environments: Geochemistry and Genesis of Ore Deposits Associated with Weathering. Assoc. Expl. Geochemists, Regional Meeting, Perth, 1983, Abstracts.Google Scholar
  28. O’Neill, H. St. C., A. L. Jaques, C. B. Smith, and J. Moon. (In preparation.) Diamond-bearing peridotite xenoliths from the Argyle (AK1) pipe: 4th Int. Kimberlite Conf., Perth, Abstract volume.Google Scholar
  29. Pidgeon, R. T., and C. B. Smith. (In preparation.) The ages of kimberlite and lamproite emplacement in Western Australia. 4th Int. Kimberlite Conf., Perth, Abstracts volume.Google Scholar
  30. Skinner, E. M. W., and C. R. Clement. 1979. Mineralogical classification of southern African kimberlites, 129-139. In F. R. Boyd and H. O. A. Meyer, eds., Kimberlites, Diatremes, and Diamonds: (1) Their Geology, Petrology, and Geochemistry. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C. 400 pages.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Van Nostrand Reinhold 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter C. Keller
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural History Museum of Los Angeles CountyUSA

Personalised recommendations