Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 112, Supplement 2, pp 339–350 | Cite as

The Liqhobong kimberlite cluster: an update on the geology

  • Mafusi RapopoEmail author
  • Paul Sobie
Original Paper


The Cretaceous Liqhobong kimberlite cluster comprises six known diamondiferous Group 1 kimberlite bodies: the Main Pipe (8.5 ha), the Satellite Pipe (1.6 ha), the Discovery Blow (0.15 ha), the Blow (0.1 ha), the Main Dyke, and the East Dyke. Emplaced along a strike length of about 2.5 km, the kimberlites intruded Jurassic Drakensberg lavas and outcrop at altitude ranging from 2970 to 2670 m above sea level (masl) in the rugged Maluti Mountain terrain of Lesotho. The cluster’s intrusion was structurally controlled and emplacement occurred in at least three pulses. The dykes and the two blows (which are dyke enlargements emplaced ~900 m apart) comprise the earliest event and the Main and Satellite Pipes were emplaced during two separate, subsequent events. Each pipe has steep contacts with the country rock basalt. The two Blows have inward dipping contacts and narrow considerably at depth. Each of the Main and Satellite Pipes comprises multiple phases which range from largely volcaniclastic to marginally coherent kimberlites. The volume of the volcaniclastic kimberlite is always much more (>three times) than that of the coherent kimberlite. The larger Main and Satellite Pipes are diluted by country rock up to 40 vol% whereas the smaller Blows and Dykes typically have less than 10 vol% dilution. The degree of mantle sampling is highest (up to 40 vol%) in the smaller Blows and lower (~25 vol%) in the larger Pipes.


Liqhobong Maluti mountain Lesotho Kimberlite Volcaniclastic Kimberley-type pyroclastic kimberlite (KPK) 



The authors would like to thank Stuart Brown, CEO of Firestone Diamonds plc, and Paul Bosma, General Manager of Liqhobong Mining Development Company (Pty) Ltd., for financing the attendance of the 11th International Kimberlite Conference (IKC) in Gaborone by MR. Much insight and different of opinions on the Liqhobong kimberlites were provided by several world experts at the 11th IKC. The networking and educational opportunities gained therein have been an eye opener and are greatly appreciated. We are also greatly indebted to two anonymous reviewers and guest editor Casey M. Hetman whose comments helped to greatly improve this manuscript.


  1. Cas R, Porritt L, Pittari A, Hayman P (2008) A new approach to kimberlite facies terminology using a revised general approach to the nomenclature of all volcanic rocks and deposits: descriptive to genetic. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 174:226–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Catuneanu O, Wopfner H, Eriksson PG, Cairncross B, Rubidge BS, Smith RMH, Hancox PJ (2005) The Karoo basins of south-central Africa. J Afr Earth Sci 43:211–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Clement CR, Skinner EMW (1985) A textural- genetic classification of kimberlites. S Afr J Geol 88(2):403–409Google Scholar
  4. Field M, Scott Smith BH (1998) Textural and genetical classification schemes for kimberlites: a new perspective. 7th International Kimberlite Conference, Cape Town, extended abstracts, 5 ppGoogle Scholar
  5. Hanson EM (2007) Estimating erosion of Cretaceous-aged kimberlites in the Republic of South Africa through the examination of upper-crustal xenoliths. MSc thesis unpublished, Rhodes University, South Africa, 147 ppGoogle Scholar
  6. Head JW, Wilson L (2002) Diatreme and kimberlites 1: definition, geological characteristics and associations. In: Topics in comparative planetology. 36th Vernadsky/Brown Microsymposium, October 14–16, 2002, Moscow, Russia. Abstract MS032Google Scholar
  7. Marsh JS, Hooper PR, Rehacek J, Duncan RA, Duncan AR (1997) Stratigraphy and age of Karoo basalts of Lesotho and implications for correlations within the Karoo Igneous Province. In: Mahoney JJ, Coffin MF (eds) Large igneous provinces: continental, oceanic and planetary flood volcanism. Geophysical monograph 100. American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, pp 247–272Google Scholar
  8. Masun KM, Doyle BJ, Ball S, Walker S (2004) The geology and mineralogy of the Anuri kimberlite, Nunavut, Canada. Lithos 76:75–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mitchell RH, Skinner EMW, Scott Smith BH (2009) Tuffisitic kimberlites from the Wesselton Mine, South Africa: Mineralogical characteristics relevant to their formation. Lithos 112S: 452–464Google Scholar
  10. O'Brien H, Laine H (2007) Liqhobong main pipe - brief geological summary. Liqhobong Mining Development Company internal memorandumGoogle Scholar
  11. Reed DD, Robinson HR, Voets R (1984) Geology and mineral resources of Lesotho. Exploration for diamonds (phase 1) and exploration for minerals (phase 2). Technical reports DP/UN/LES-71-503/8 and DP/UN/LES-73-021/9, for the government of Lesotho, 252 ppGoogle Scholar
  12. Scott Smith BH, Nowicki TE, Russell JK, Webb KJ, Hetman CM, Harder M, Mitchell RH (2008) Kimberlites: descriptive geological nomenclature and classification. 9th International Kimberlite Conference extended abstracts. Abstract 9IKC-A-00124Google Scholar
  13. Scott Smith BH, Nowicki TE, Russell JK, Webb KJ, Mitchell RH, Hetman CM, Harder M, Skinner EMW, Robey JVA (2013) Kimberlite terminology and classification. In: Pearson DG, Grütter HS, Harris JW, Kjarsgaard BA, O’Brien H, Chalapathi Rao NV, Sparks S (eds) Proceedings of 10th international Kimberlite Conference, Volume 2. J Geol Soc India Special Issue, pp 1–17Google Scholar
  14. Skinner EMW, Clement CR (1979) Mineralogical classification of southern African kimberlites. In: Boyd FR, Meyer HOA (eds) Kimberlites, diatremes and diamonds: their geology, petrology and geochemistry. Proceedings of the Second International Kimberlite Conference, vol 1. American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, pp 129–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Skinner EMW, Marsh JS (2004) Distinct kimberlite pipe classes with contrasting eruption processes. Lithos 76:183–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Tshabalala SM (2017) Petrographic and geochemical study of mantle peridotite xenoliths from the Cretaceous Liqhobong Kimberlite, Lesotho. BSc thesis, unpublished, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa, 79 ppGoogle Scholar
  17. Webb KJ, Hetman CH (2017) Magmaclasts in kimberlite. 11th International Kimberlite Conference extended abstracts. Abstract 11IKC-4653Google Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liqhobong Mining Development CompanyMaseru WestLesotho
  2. 2.MPH Consulting LimitedTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Firestone Diamonds plc, The TriangleLondonUK

Personalised recommendations