Diamond Geology and Exploration

Contrasting Growth Conditions for Sulphide- and Garnet-Included Diamonds from the Victor Mine (Ontario)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 16:30 to 19:00 Multiplex Gym (DND)


K.M. Bulbuc (Presenting)
University of Alberta

M. Galarneau
University of Alberta

T. Stachel
University of Alberta

R.A. Stern
University of Alberta

J. Kong
De Beers Canada

I. Chinn
De Beers Exploration

The Victor Diamond Mine, located in the Attawapiskat kimberlite field (Superior Craton), is known for its exceptional diamond quality. Here we study the chemical environment of formation of Victor diamonds. We imaged eight sulphide-included diamond plates from Victor using cathodoluminescence (CL). Then, along core-rim transects, we measured nitrogen content and aggregation state utilizing Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and the stable isotope compositions of carbon (d13C) and nitrogen (d15N), using a multi-collector ion microprobe (MC-SIMS). We compare the internal growth features and chemical characteristics of these sulphide inclusion-bearing diamonds with similar data on garnet inclusion-bearing diamonds from Victor (BSc thesis Galarneau).

Using this information, possible fractionation processes during diamond precipitation are considered and inferences on the speciation of the diamond forming fluid(s) are explored. Sulphide inclusion-bearing diamonds show much greater overall complexity in their internal growth features than garnet inclusion-bearing diamonds. Two of the sulphide-included samples have cores that represent an older generation of diamond growth. Compared to garnet inclusion-bearing diamonds, the sulphide-included diamonds show very little intra-sample variation in both carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition; the inter-sample variations in carbon isotopic composition, however, are higher than in garnet included diamonds. For sulphide-included diamonds, d13C ranges from -3.4 to -17.5 and d15N ranges from -0.2 to -9.2. Garnet inclusion-bearing diamonds showed d13C values ranging from -4.6 to -6.0 and d15N ranging from -2.8 to -10.8. The observation of some 13C depleted samples indicates that, unlike the lherzolitic garnet inclusion-bearing diamonds, the sulphide inclusion-bearing diamonds are likely both peridotitic and eclogitic in origin. The total range in N content across sulphide inclusion-bearing diamonds was 2 to 981 at.ppm, similar to the garnet-included samples with a range of 5 to 944 at.ppm.

The very limited variations in carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures across growth layers indicate that sulphide-included Victor diamonds grew at comparatively high fluid:rock ratios. This is contrasted by the garnet inclusion-bearing diamonds that commonly show the effects of Rayleigh fractionation and hence grew under fluid-limited conditions.