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Evidence for olivine deformation in kimberlites and other mantle-derived magmas during crustal emplacement

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This paper highlights published and new field and petrographic observations for late-stage (crustal level) deformation associated with the emplacement of kimberlites and other mantle-derived magmas. Thus, radial and tangential joint sets in the competent 183 Ma Karoo basalt wall rocks to the 5 ha. Lemphane kimberlite blow in northern Lesotho have been ascribed to stresses linked to eruption of the kimberlite magma. Further examples of emplacement-related stresses in kimberlites are brittle fractures and close-spaced parallel shears which disrupt olivine macrocrysts. In each of these examples, there is no evidence of post-kimberlite regional tectonism which might explain these features, indicating that they reflect auto-deformation in the kimberlite during or immediately post-emplacement. On a microscopic scale, these inferred late-stage stresses are reflected by fractures and domains of undulose extinction which traverse core and margins of some euhedral and anhedral olivines in kimberlites and olivine melilitites. Undulose extinction and kink bands have also been documented in olivines in cumulates from layered igneous intrusions. Our observations thus indicate that these deformation features can form at shallow levels (crustal pressures), which is supported by experimental evidence. Undulose extinction and kink bands have previously been presented as conclusive evidence for a mantle provenance of the olivines—i.e. that they are xenocrysts. The observation that these deformation textures can form in both mantle and crustal environments implies that they do not provide reliable constraints on the provenance of the olivines. An understanding of the processes responsible for crustal deformation of kimberlites could potentially refine our understanding of kimberlite emplacement processes.

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Fig. 1

(From Kreston and Dempster 1973, Plate 44b, and included with permission of Peter Kreston, 2018)

Fig. 2

(From Kreston and Dempster 1973, Plate 45B, included with permission of the first author.)

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Fig. 5


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Peter Kreston is thanked for permission to publish the images presented in Figs. 1 and 2, and Dr. Frieder Reichardt for providing the Murowa dyke sample illustrated in Fig. 3a, b. The core sample illustrated in Fig. 3d was kindly provided by Petra Diamonds Ltd. Tsodilo Resources (a Canadian-listed diamond exploration company), kindly facilitated a field visit to the company’s BK16 kimberlite, located in the mid-Cretaceous (~ 90 Ma) Orapa pipe cluster in central Botswana. Susan Abraham is thanked for help in producing the diagrams. Prof Phil Janney is thanked for making the WAT sample available for study, and facilitating the micro-photography. Special thanks to Chris Ballhaus for his editorial handling of the manuscript, to Dima Kamenetsky for constructive critical comments, and to an anonymous reviewer who expressed the view that our observations and interpretation should be viewed and debated, despite strong reservations regarding the latter.

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Correspondence to Andy Moore.

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Communicated by Chris Ballhaus.

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Moore, A., Yudovskaya, M., Proyer, A. et al. Evidence for olivine deformation in kimberlites and other mantle-derived magmas during crustal emplacement. Contrib Mineral Petrol 175, 15 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00410-020-1653-8

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  • Kimberlite olivine
  • Cognate
  • Xenocryst
  • Kimberlite emplacement stresses
  • Crustal
  • Olivine deformation