The discovery of a new source-rock indicator for diamond formation has the potential to help geologists locate and identify valuable diamond deposits around the world, a study by the University of Alberta and De Beers shows.
“The outcome of the project fundamentally changes our understanding of where diamonds come from,” Thomas Stachel, a University of Alberta geologist and the Canadian research chair for diamonds, was quoted as saying in an online article published by Phys.org. “[It] has the potential to cause diamond companies to retool their approach to exploration.”
Geologists at Canada’s University of Alberta studied a sample of 116 diamonds from De Beers’ Victor mine in Ontario. The goal was to characterize the sample’s mineral inclusions and identify any that could be age-dated using their isotopic compositions, which could serve as indicator materials for kimberlite.
Of the stones tested, 99 showed garnet inclusions, a typical indicator for diamonds. However, 85% of those garnet samples were found to be lherzolite, a peridotitic rock that had previously been discovered around diamond areas, but had been considered unimportant.
“This makes Victor the first significant diamond mine in the world that extracts a predominantly lherzolite-derived diamond production,” the study notes.