The Significance of Eclogite and Cr-poor Megacryst Garnets in Diamond Exploration

Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 6, No. 4, 1997

Eclogite is an important source of diamond in the upper mantle, but is more localized than peridotite. Using eclogitic minerals in kimberlite and diamond exploration is also more problematic than using the well-known peridotite-derived indicator minerals Cr-pyrope and magnesiochromite. The problems include color similarities between orange garnets from eclogites, Cr-poor megacrysts, and crustal garnets, chemical similarities with Cr-poor megacryst suite garnets (specifically elevated Na2O contents), and low abundance of eclogite garnet xenocrysts in most known kimberlites. Chemical screens must be used carefully to distinguish between varieties of orange garnets in exploration samples. For example, most orange garnets of crustal origin have >22 wt% FeO, with mantle eclogite garnets having lower values. Na2O-bearing garnets from the Cr-poor megacryst suite can be distinguished from Na2O bearing garnets from diamondiferous eclogites by the elevated TiO2 contents of the former. The low abundance of eclogite garnet xenocrysts in kimberlites worldwide, however, may dictate that use of eclogite garnets in diamond exploration in most cases be restricted to advanced stages of kimberlite exploration and evaluation of kimberlite diamond potential. Crpyropes, Mg-ilmenites and Cr-rich chromites are more useful than eclogitic garnets in most stages of diamond exploration. If orange garnet xenocrysts are sought in a kimberlite exploration program, those from the Cr-poor megacryst suite will be more useful than eclogite derived garnets, due to the typical great abundance of the former, although they carry no information of the diamond potential of the host kimberlite.
Mots Clés: Eclogite, Diamond, Kimberlite exploration, Diamond exploration