Kimberlites as Geochemical Probes of Earth’s Mantle

Kimberlites are ultrabasic, Si-undersaturated, low Al, low Na rocks rich in CO2 and H2O. The distinctive geochemical character of kimberlite is strongly influenced by the nature of the local underlying lithospheric mantle. Despite this, incompatible trace element ratios and radiogenic isotope characteristics of kimberlites, filtered for the effects of crustal contamination and alteration, closely resemble rocks derived from the deeper, more primitive, convecting mantle. This suggests that the ultimate magma source is sub-lithospheric. Although the composition of primitive kimberlite melt remains unresolved, kimberlites are likely derived from the convecting mantle, with possible source regions ranging from just below the lithosphere, through the transition zone, to the core–mantle boundary.

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