Experimental characterization of diamond crystallization in melts of mantle silicate-carbonate-carbon systems at 7.0–8.5 GPa

Research paper by Yu. A. Litvin, V. Yu. Litvin, A. A. Kadik

Indexed on: 01 Jul '08Published on: 01 Jul '08Published in: Geochemistry International


Diamond crystallization from carbon solutions in compositionally variable melts of model eclogite with dolomite [CaMg(CO3)2], potassium carbonate (K2CO3), and multicomponent K-Na-Ca-Mg-Fe carbonates was studied at 7.0–8.5 GPa. Concentration barriers for the nucleation of the diamond were determined at a standard pressure of 8.5 GPa for variable proportions of silicate and carbonate components in the growth solutions. They correspond to 35, 65, and 40 wt % of silicate components for systems with dolomite, K2CO3, and carbonatites, respectively. At higher contents of silicates in silicate-carbonate melts, the nucleation of diamond phase ceases, but diamond crystallization on seed crystals continues and is accompanied by the spontaneous crystallization of thermodynamically unstable graphite. In melts of the albite (NaAlSi3O8)-K2CO3-C compositions, the concentration barrier of diamond nucleation at 8.5 GPa is up to 90–92 wt % of the albite component, and diamond growth on seeds was observed in albite-carbon melts. Using mineralogical and experimental data, we developed a model of mantle carbonate-silicate (carbonatite) melts as the main parental media for natural diamonds; it was shown that the composition of the silicate constituent of such parental melts is variable and corresponds to the mantle ultrabasic-basic series. With respect to concentration contributions and dominant role in the genesis of diamond in the Earth’s mantle, major (carbonate and silicate) and minor or admixture components were distinguished. The latter include both soluble in carbonate-silicate melts (oxides, phosphates, chlorides, carbon dioxide, and water) and insoluble components (sulfides, metals, and carbides). Both major and minor components may affect the position of the concentration barriers of diamond nucleation in natural parent media.