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The origin and evolution of North American kimberlites Open Access


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Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Zurevinski, Shannon
Supervisor and department
Heaman, Larry (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Creaser, Robert (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Stachel, Thomas (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Luth, Robert (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Kravchinsky, Vadim (Physics)
Helmstaedt, Herb (Queen's University)
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Recent discoveries of kimberlites in North America have revealed that different processes are involved in the generation of kimberlite magma. A multi-disciplinary approach combining mineralogical, petrological, geochemical, and geochronological methods is used to classify the kimberlites, investigate possible sources of magma and evaluate current tectonic models proposed for the generation of kimberlite magma. The two main study areas are 1) the diamond-poor Churchill kimberlite field (Nunavut); and 2) the highly diamondiferous Lac de Gras kimberlite field (NWT). The Attawapiskat kimberlite field, the Kirkland Lake kimberlite field and the Timiskaming kimberlite field (Ontario) are also included in this study. The 55-56 Ma Diavik kimberlite cluster (NWT) have been classified as resedimented volcaniclastic > olivine-bearing volcaniclastic > mud-bearing volcaniclastic > macrocrystic oxide-bearing hypabyssal kimberlite > calcite oxide hypabyssal kimberlite > tuffisitic kimberlite breccia. Geochemical features of Diavik kimberlites include: 1) LREE enrichment, 2) large intra-field range in REE content, and 3) highly diamondiferous kimberlites at Diavik with primitive geochemical signatures. The Churchill kimberlites are classified as sparsely macrocrystic, oxide-rich calcite evolved hypabyssal kimberlite and macrocrystic oxide-rich monticellite phlogopite hypabyssal kimberlite. Electron microprobe analyses of olivine, phlogopite, spinel and perovskite support this petrographical classification. Twenty-seven precise U-Pb perovskite and Rb-Sr phlogopite emplacement ages indicate that magmatism spans ~45 million years (225-170 Ma). The crystallization ages and the Sr and Nd isotopic compositions of groundmass perovskite from a well-established, SE-trending Triassic-Jurassic corridor of kimberlite magmatism in Eastern North America (ENA) were determined to investigate the origin of this magmatism. The Sr isotopic results indicate that the Churchill (0.7032-0.7036) and Attawapiskat kimberlites (0.7049-0.7042) have unique isotopic compositions, while Kirkland Lake/Timiskaming perovskite have a larger range of 87Sr/86Sr ratios. This implies the derivation of kimberlite magma from two distinct sources in the mantle, a depleted MORB mantle source and a kimberlite magma with a Bulk Silicate Earth signature. The pattern of increasing 87Sr/86Srinitial with younging of kimberlite magmatism along the ~2000 km corridor of continuous Triassic/Jurassic magmatism could be explained from either a single or multiple hotspot track(s), responsible for the addition of heat required to generate small volume mantle melting of a kimberlite source.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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