Trace-element geochemistry of diamond-hosted olivine inclusions from the Akwatia Mine, West African Craton: implications for diamond paragenesis and geothermobarometry

Cees-Jan De Hoog, T. Stachel, J.W. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Trace-element concentrations in olivine and coexisting garnets included in diamonds from the Akwatia Mine (Ghana, West African Craton) were measured to show that olivine can provide similar information about equilibration temperature, diamond paragenesis and mantle processes as garnet. Trace-element systematics can be used to distinguish harzburgitic olivines from lherzolite ones: if Ca/Al ratios of olivine are below the mantle lherzolite trend (Ca/Al < 2.2), they are derived from a harzburgitic mantle source, and syngenetic garnets are without exception subcalcic G10 garnets. For harzburgitic olivines that cannot be identified this way, Na and Ca contents can be used: olivine inclusions with < 60 µg/g Na and Na/Al < 0.7 are all harzburgitic, whereas those with > 300 µg/g Ca or > 60 µg/g Na are lherzolitic. Conventional geothermobarometry indicates that Akwatia diamonds formed and resided close to a 39 mW/m2 conductive geotherm. A similar value can be derived from Al in olivine geothermometry, with TAl-ol ranging from 1020 to 1325 °C. Ni in garnet temperatures is on average somewhat higher (TNi-grt = 1115–1335 °C) and the correlation between the two thermometers is weak, which may be not only due to the large uncertainties in the calibrations, but also due to disequilibrium between inclusions from the same diamond. Calcium in olivine should not be used as a geothermobarometer for harzburgitic olivines, and often gives unrealistic P–T estimates for lherzolitic olivine as well. Diamond-hosted olivine inclusions indicate growth in an extremely depleted (low Ti, Ca, Na, high Cr#) environment with no residual clinopyroxene. They are distinct from olivines from mantle xenoliths which show higher, more variable Ti contents and lower Cr#. Hence, most olivine inclusions in Akwatia diamonds escaped the refertilisation processes that have affected most mantle xenoliths. Lherzolitic inclusions are probably the result of refertilisation after undergoing high-degree melting first. Trivalent cations appear to behave differently in harzburgitic diamond-hosted olivine inclusions than lherzolitic inclusions and olivine from mantle xenoliths. Some divalent chromium is predicted to be present in most olivine inclusions, which may explain high concentrations up to 0.16 wt% Cr2O3 observed in some diamond inclusions. Strong heterogeneity of Cr, V and Al in several inclusions may also result in apparent high Cr contents, and is probably due to late-stage processes during exhumation. However, in general, diamond-hosted olivine inclusions have lower Cr and V than expected compared to mantle xenoliths. Reduced Na activity in depleted harzburgites limits the uptake of Cr, V and Sc via Na–M3+ exchange. In contrast, Al partitioning in harzburgites is not significantly reduced compared to lherzolites, presumably due to uptake of Al in olivine by Al–Al exchange.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Volume174
Early online date14 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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