Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 112, Supplement 1, pp 57–70 | Cite as

Mantle composition, age and geotherm beneath the Darby kimberlite field, west central Rae Craton

  • Garrett A. HarrisEmail author
  • D. Graham Pearson
  • Jingao Liu
  • Matthew F. Hardman
  • David B. Snyder
  • Dave Kelsch
Original Paper


The Rae Craton, northern Canada, contains several diamondiferous kimberlite fields that have been a focus of episodic diamond exploration. Relatively little is known about the deep mantle lithosphere underpinning the architecturally complex crust. We present bulk and mineral element and isotopic compositional data for peridotite and pyroxenite/eclogite xenoliths from the Darby kimberlites representing fragments of the west central Rae lithosphere, as well as the first kimberlite eruption age of 542.2±2.6 Ma (2 σ; phlogopite Rb-Sr isochron). Darby peridotites have low bulk Al2O3 contents with highly-depleted olivine (median Mg# = 92.5) characteristic of cratonic lithosphere globally, but more depleted than peridotites from other Rae Craton localities. One peridotite xenolith contains a harzburgitic G10D garnet. Re-Os TRD model ages appear to be the oldest measured to date from peridotites of the Rae lithosphere, having a mode in the early Neoarchean and ranging to the Paleoproterozoic (~2.3 Ga). Concentrate clinopyroxene defines a well constrained mantle geotherm indicating the existence of a ~200 km thick lithosphere at the time of kimberlite eruption, greater than the lithospheric thickness beneath Somerset Island and in good agreement with modern seismic constraints. Nickel-in-garnet thermometry in grains that record temperatures below the mantle adiabat, indicates mantle sampling dominantly in the graphite stability field whereas Al-in-olivine thermometry shows a distinct mantle sampling mode in the diamond stability field. Abundant pyroxenite and eclogite xenoliths are recovered across the Darby property and low-Cr garnet (Cr2O3 < 1 wt%) is the most abundant garnet type recovered in kimberlite concentrate. Based on thermometry, these rocks range in likely depths of equilibration, from the lower crust into the shallow lithospheric mantle. They give variable Os model ages, with the oldest ages in the Mesoarchean. The abundance of this mafic material reflects derivation from a large mafic body possibly evident in the layered structure of the Rae Craton mantle root defined by new seismic studies.


Northern Canada Peridotite Pyroxenite Xenolith Kimberlite eruption Lithosphere 



This research formed part of G.H.s MSc. thesis funded by a Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) grant to D.G.P. and the Diamond Exploration and Research Training School (DERTS). We acknowledge Teck Resources Limited for granting access to the Darby property and support with field costs. Mike Merante provided invaluable assistance in the field. Unpublished data were provided by Bluestone Resources Inc. We thank Drs. Sarah Woodland, Andrew Locock, and Yan Luo for analytical assistance. We thank Grant Lockhart, Janina Czas, and Pedro Waterton for useful discussions. We are indebted to Véronique Le Roux, Richard Carlson and handling editor Roberta Rudnick for constructive comments that helped to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

710_2018_609_MOESM1_ESM.docx (9.2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 9388 kb)
710_2018_609_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (559 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 558 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.China University of GeosciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Willet Green Miller CentreLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada
  4. 4.Bluestone Resources Inc.VancouverCanada

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