Diamond preservation in the lithospheric mantle recorded by olivine in kimberlites

Andrea Giuliani*, David Phillips, D. Graham Pearson, Soumendu Sarkar, Alex A. Müller, Yaakov Weiss, Robin Preston, Michael Seller, Zdislav Spetsius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The diamond potential of kimberlites is difficult to assess due to several mantle and magmatic processes affecting diamond content. Traditionally, initial evaluations are based on the compositions of mantle-derived minerals (garnet, chromite, clinopyroxene), which allow an assessment of pressure-temperature conditions and lithologies suitable for diamond formation. Here we explore a complementary approach that considers the conditions of diamonds destruction by interaction with melts/fluids (metasomatism). We test the hypothesis that carbonate-rich metasomatism related to kimberlite melt infiltration into the deep lithosphere is detrimental to diamond preservation. Our results show that high diamond grades in kimberlites worldwide are exclusively associated with high-Mg/Fe olivine, which corresponds to mantle lithosphere minimally affected by kimberlite-related metasomatism. Diamond dissolution in strongly metasomatised lithosphere containing low-Mg/Fe olivine provides a causal link to the empirical associations between low diamond grades, abundant Ti-Zr-rich garnets and kimberlites with high Ti and low Mg contents. This finding show-cases olivine geochemistry as a viable tool in diamond exploration.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6999
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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