The dynamic Earth and its Kimberlite, Cratonic Mantle and Diamond record through time
Africa is host to some of the world’s most economic diamond deposits, and for more than a century the continent has been intimately associated with the search for kimberlites and diamonds. Our general understanding of cratonic lithosphere is strongly influenced by the numerous studies devoted to kimberlite-borne mantle xenoliths from the Kaapvaal craton of southern Africa. The first diamond inclusion ages ever obtained demonstrated the antiquity of the African diamondiferous continental roots. High-precision U-Pb geochronology of kimberlites was developed on the continent and is revealing that Africa hosts both the oldest and youngest known kimberlites, spanning an almost 2 billion year history of episodic kimberlite magmatic activity. The textbook model of a kimberlite diatreme is derived from the pipes occurring at Kimberley, the town in South Africa that lends the diamond rock its name.|Legacy aside, diamond geology on all continents worldwide is an increasingly important tool for gaining insights into early Earth processes such as continent formation and volatile cycling, and the possible links between kimberlite magmatism and supercontinent cycles showcase the dynamic nature of our planet. At the outset of the 21st Century, we are entering a new era of studies of cratons, diamonds, and kimberlites that is mainly driven by the significant advancements of research methods. This research is greatly improving our understanding of processes and timescales of craton stabilization and modification, including conditions that trigger diamond formation and kimberlite eruptions.|In this session, we welcome contributions that investigate the deep continental lithosphere through mantle-derived xenolith and diamond studies, and by geophysical means. We additionally invite studies pertinent to the formation and evolution of volatile-rich magmas such as kimberlites and carbonatites, including their potential to modify cratonic mantle. Studies pertaining to kimberlite pipe emplacement and subsequent erosion histories, as well as those advancing diamond exploration techniques are also welcome.
Sebastian Tappe, William Griffin, Phil Janney, Nicholas Arndt and John Gurney