Sm-Nd isochron ages coupled with C-N isotope data of eclogitic diamonds from Jwaneng, Botswana

M. U. Gress*, J. M. Koornneef, E. Thomassot, I. L. Chinn, K. van Zuilen, G. R. Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

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Constraining the formation age of individual diamonds from incorporated mineral inclusions and assessing the host diamonds’ geochemical characteristics allows determination of the complex history of diamond growth in the sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM). It also provides the rare opportunity to study the evolution of the deep cycling of volatiles over time. To achieve these aims, Sm-Nd isotope systematics are presented for 36 eclogitic garnet and clinopyroxene inclusions from 16 diamonds from the Jwaneng mine, Botswana. The inclusions and host diamonds comprise at least two compositional suites that record different ‘mechanisms’ of diamond formation and define two isochrons, one Paleoproterozoic (1.8 Ga) and one Neoproterozoic (0.85 Ga). There are indications of at least three additional diamond-forming events whose ages currently cannot be well constrained. The Paleoproterozoic diamond suite formed by large-scale (>100′s km), volatile-rich metasomatism related to formation and re-working of the Proto-Kalahari Craton. In contrast, the heterogeneous composition of the Neoproterozoic diamond suite indicates diamond formation on a small-scale, through local (<10 km) equilibration of compositionally variable diamond-forming fluids in different eclogitic substrates during the progressive breakup of the Rodinia supercontinent. The results demonstrate that regional events appear to reflect the input of volatiles (i.e., carbon-bearing) derived from the asthenospheric mantle, whereas local diamond-forming events mainly promote the redistribution of volatiles within the SCLM. The occurrence of isotopically light carbon analysed in distinct growth zones from samples of this study (δ13C < −21.1‰) provides further indication of a recycled origin for surface-derived carbon in some diamonds from Jwaneng. Determining Earth's long-term deep carbon cycle using diamonds, however, requires an understanding of the nature and scale of specific diamond-forming events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Early online date16 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


  • Carbon and nitrogen isotope
  • Craton
  • Diamond
  • Eclogite
  • Inclusion dating
  • Nitrogen aggregation


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