Lithospheric Diamonds /

Continental Mantle

✦ Diamond octahedral crystal in kimberlite matrix (VRL# 157869) Photo by Robert Weldon. © 2014 GIA

Diamonds and the inclusions that they host as well as eclogites and peridotites can be used to study the evolution of the continental lithospheric mantle. Recent advances come from the application of the naturally occurring beta decay of 187-rhenium to 187-osmium to these rocks and minerals, a technique which was pioneered at the Carnegie Institution. Studies such as these are the perhaps the best direct probe we have of ancient continental tectonics at mantle depths.

Relevant Publications

Howell, D., Stachel T., Stern R. A., Pearson D. G., Nestola F., Hardman M. F., Harris J. W., Jaques A. L., Shirey S.B., Cartigny P., Smit K. V., Aulbach S., Brenker F. E., Jacob D. E., Thomassot E., Walter M. J., and Navon O. (2020). "Deep carbon through time: Earth’s diamond record and its implications for carbon cycling and fluid speciation in the mantle." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 275: 99-122.

Ionov D. A., Guo, Peng, Nelson, Wendy R., Shirey, Steven B., Wilbold, Mathius (2020). Paleoproterozoic melt-depleted lithospheric mantle in the Khanka block, far eastern Russia: Inferences for mobile belts bordering the North China and Siberian cratons. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta,

Smit, K. V. and Shirey, S.B. (2020) Diamonds are not forever! Diamond dissolution. Gems & Gemology 56: 148–155.

Shirey, S., Smit, K., Pearson, D., Walter, M., Aulbach, S., Brenker, F. E., Bureau, H., Burnham, A. D., Cartigny, P., Chacko, T., Frost, D. J. , Hauri, E. H., Jacob, D. E., Jacobsen, S. D., Kohn, S. C., Luth, R. W., Mikhail, S., Navon, O., Nestola, F., Nimis, P., Smith, E. M., Stachel, T., Stagno, V., Steele, A., Thomassot, E., Thomson, A. R., Weiss, Y. (2019). Diamonds and the Mantle Geodynamics of Carbon: Deep Mantle Carbon Evolution from the Diamond Record. In B. Orcutt, I. Daniel, & R. Dasgupta (Eds.), Deep Carbon: Past to Present (pp. 89-128). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108677950.005.

Mikhail, S., McCubbin, F., Jenner, F., Shirey, S., Rumble, D., Bowden, R. (2019). Diamondites: evidence for a distinct tectono-thermal diamond-forming event beneath the Kaapvaal craton Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 174(8), 71.

Smit, K.V., Shirey, S.B., Hauri, E.H., and Stern, R.A. (2019) Sulfur isotopes in diamonds reveal differences in continent construction. Science 364, 383-385.

Smit, K. V., Shirey, S. B., Stern, R. A., Steele, A., & Wang, W. (2016). Diamond growth from C–H–N–O recycled fluids in the lithosphere: Evidence from CH4 micro-inclusions and δ13C–δ15N–N content in Marange mixed-habit diamonds. Lithos, 265 IS -, 68–81.

Smit, K. V., Shirey, S. B., & Wang, W. (2016). Type Ib diamond formation and preservation in the West African lithospheric mantle: Re–Os age constraints from sulphide inclusions in Zimmi diamonds. Precambrian Research, 286 IS -, 152–166.

Shirey, S.B., and Shigley, J.E., 2013, Recent advances in understanding the geology of diamonds: Gems and Gemology, v. 49, 188–222.

Shirey, S.B., Cartigny, P., Frost, D.J., Keshav, S., Nestola, F., Nimis, P., Pearson, D.G., Sobolev, N.V., and Walter, M.J. (2013) Diamonds and the Geology of Mantle Carbon: Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, v. 75, p. 355–421.

Shirey, S. B., & Richardson, S. H. (2011). Start of the Wilson Cycle at 3 Ga Shown by Diamonds from Subcontinental Mantle. Science, 333, 434–436.

Smit, K.V., Shirey, S.B., Richardson, S.H., Le Roex, A.P., and Gurney, J.J., 2010, Re–Os isotopic composition of peridotitic sulphide inclusions in diamonds from Ellendale, Australia: Age constraints on Kimberley cratonic lithosphere: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 74, p. 3292-3306.

Janney, P., Shirey, S., Carlson, R., Pearson, D., Bell, D., Le Roex, A., Ishikawa, A., Nixon, P., and Boyd, F., 2010, Age, Composition and Thermal Characteristics of South African Off-Craton Mantle Lithosphere: Evidence for a Multi-Stage History: Journal of Petrology, v. 0, p. 1-42.

Aulbach, S., Shirey, S.B., Stachel, T., Creighton, S., Muehlenbach, K., and Harris, J.W., 2009, Diamond formation episodes at the southern margin of the Kaapvaal Craton: Re-Os systematics of sulfide inclusions from the Jagersfontein Mine: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 157, p. 525-540.

Richardson, S.H., and Shirey, S.B., 2008, Continental mantle signature of Bushveld magmas and coeval diamonds: Nature, v. 453, p. 910-913.

Westerlund, K.J., Shirey, S.B., Richardson, S.H., Carlson, R.W., Gurney, J.J., and Harris, J.W., 2006, A subduction origin for Early Archean peridotitic diamonds and harzburgites from the Panda kimberlite, Slave craton: Implications from Re-Os isotope systematics: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 152, p. 275-294.

Ionov, D.A., Shirey, S.B., Weis, D., and Brugmann, G., 2006, Os-Hf-Sr-Nd isotope and PGE systematics of spinel peridotite xenoliths from Tok, SE Siberian craton: Effects of pervasive metasomatism in shallow refractory mantle: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 241, p. 47-64.

Westerlund, K.J., Gurney, J.J., Carlson, R.W., Shirey, S.B., Hauri, E.H., and Richardson, S.H., 2004, A metasomatic origin for late Archaean eclogitic diamonds: Implications from internal morphology of Klipspringer diamonds and Re-Os and S isotope characteristics of their sulfide inclusions: South African Journal of Geology, v. 107, p. 119-130.

Shirey, S.B., Richardson Stephen, H., and Harris, J.W., 2004, Integrated models of diamond formation and craton evolution: Lithos, v. 77, p. 923-944.

Shirey, S.B., Richardson, S.H., and Harris, J.W., 2004, Age, paragenesis, and composition of diamonds and evolution of the Precambrian mantle lithosphere of southern Africa: South African Journal Geology, v. 107, p. 91-106.

Richardson, S.H., Shirey, S.B., and Harris, J.W., 2004, Episodic diamond genesis at Jwaneng, Botswana, and implications for Kaapvaal craton evolution: Lithos, v. 77, p. 143-154.

Shirey, S.B., Harris, J.W., Richardson, S.H., Fouch, M.J., James, D.E., Cartigny, P., Deines, P., and Viljoen, F., 2003, Regional patterns in the paragenesis and age of inclusions in diamond, diamond composition and the lithospheric seismic structure of southern Africa: Lithos, v. 71, p. 243-258.

Pearson, D.G., Canil, D., and Shirey, S.B. (2003) Chapter 7 - Mantle samples included in volcanic rocks: xenoliths and diamonds, in Carlson, R.W., ed., Teatise On Geochemistry: Vol. 2, The Mantle: New York, Elsevier, p. 171-277.

Menzies, A.H., Carlson, R.W., Shirey, S.B., and Gurney, J.J., 2003, Re-Os Systematics of Diamond-bearing Eclogites from Newlands Kimberlite: Lithos, v. 71, p. 323-336.

Shirey, S.B., Harris, J.W., Richardson, S.H., Fouch, M.J., James, D.E., Cartigny, P., Deines, P., and Viljoen, F., 2002, Diamond genesis, seismic structure, and evolution of the Kaapvaal-Zimbabwe craton: Science, v. 297, p. 1683-1686.

Shirey, S.B., Carlson, R.W., Richardson, S.H., Menzies, A., Gurney, J.J., Pearson, D.G., Harris, J.W., and Wiechert, U., 2001, Archean emplacement of eclogitic components into the lithospheric mantle during formation of the Kaapvaal Craton: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 28, p. 2509-2512.

Carlson, R.W., Boyd, F.R., Shirey, S.B., Janney, P.E., Grove, T.J., Bowring, S.A., Schmitz, M.D., Dann, J.C., Bell, D.R., Gurney, J.J., Richardson, S.H., Tredoux, M., Menzies, A.H., Pearson, D.G., Hart, R.J., Wilson, A.H., and Moser, D., 2000, Continental growth, preservation, and modification in Southern Africa: GSA Today, v. 10, p. 1-7.

Shirey, S.B., 1999, Waldemar Lindgren Award for 1999 - Citation of David Graham Pearson: Economic Geology and the Bulletin of the Society of Economic Geologists, v. 94, p. 1389-1390.

—, 1999, Dating and paragenetic distinction of diamonds using the Re-Os isotope system; application to some Siberian diamonds, in Gurney John, J., Gurney James, L., Pascoe Michelle, D., and Richardson Stephen, H., eds., The P. H. Nixon Volume: Proceedings of the International Kimberlite Conference. 7, Vol: Cape Town, Red Roof Design, p. 637-643.

Pearson, D.G., and Shirey, S.B., 1999, Isotopic dating of diamonds, in Lambert David, D., and Ruiz, J., eds., Application of radiogenic isotopes to ore deposit research and exploration., Volume 12: Reviews in Economic Geology: Boulder, CO, United States, Society of Economic Geologists, p. 143-171.

Menzies, A.H., Carlson, R.W., Shirey, S.B., and Gurney, J.J., 1999, Re-Os systematics of Newlands peridotite xenoliths; implications for diamond and lithosphere formation, in Gurney, J.J., Gurney, J.L., Pascoe, M.D., and Richardson, S.H., eds., The P. H. Nixon Volume: Proceedings of the International Kimberlite Conference. 7, Vol: Cape Town, Red Roof Design, p. 566-573.

Carlson, R.W., Pearson, D.G., Boyd, F.R., Shirey, S.B., Irvine, G., Menzies, A.H., and Gurney, J.J., 1999, Re-Os systematics of lithosphere peridotites; implications for lithosphere formation and preservation, in Gurney, J.J., Gurney, J.L., Pascoe, M.D., and Richardson, S.H., eds., The J. B. Dawson Volume: Proceedings of the International Kimberlite Conference. 7, Vol: Cape Town, Red Roof Design, p. 99-108.

Shirey, S.B., and Walker, R.J., 1998, The Re-Os isotope system in cosmochemistry and high-temperature geochemistry: Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, v. 26, p. 423-500.

Pearson, D.G., Shirey, S.B., Harris, J.W., and Carlson, R.W., 1998, Sulphide inclusions in diamonds from the Koffiefontein kimberlite, S Africa; constraints on diamond ages and mantle Re-Os systematics: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 160, p. 311-326.

Pearson, D.G., Snyder, G.A., Shirey, S.B., Taylor, L.A., Carlson, R.W., and Sobolev, N.V., 1995, Archaean Re-Os age for Siberian eclogites and constraints on Archaean tectonics: Nature, v. 374, p. 711-713.

Pearson, D.G., Shirey, S.B., Carlson, R.W., Boyd, F.R., Pokhilenko, N.P., and Shimizu, N., 1995, Re-Os, Sm-Nd, and Rb-Sr isotope evidence for thick Archaean lithospheric mantle beneath the Siberian craton modified by multistage metasomatism: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 59, p. 959-977.

Pearson, D.G., Carlson, R.W., Shirey, S.B., Boyd, F.R., and Nixon, P.H., 1995, Stabilisation of Archaean lithospheric mantle; a Re-Os isotope study of peridotite xenoliths from the Kaapvaal Craton: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 134, p. 341-357.

Carlson, R.W., Shirey, S.B., Pearson, D.G., and Boyd, F.R., 1994, The mantle beneath continents: Year Book - Carnegie Institution of Washington, v. 1993, p. 109-117.

Walker, R.J., Carlson, R.W., Shirey, S.B., and Boyd, F.R., 1989, Os, Sr, Nd, and Pb isotope systematics of Southern African peridotite xenoliths; implications for the chemical evolution of subcontinental mantle: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 53, p. 1583-1595.