Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 112, Supplement 2, pp 653–672 | Cite as

Geochronology, classification and mantle source characteristics of kimberlites and related rocks from the Rae Craton, Melville Peninsula, Nunavut, Canada

  • Chiranjeeb SarkarEmail author
  • Bruce A. Kjarsgaard
  • D. Graham Pearson
  • Larry M. Heaman
  • Andrew J. Locock
  • John P. Armstrong
Original Paper


Detailed geochronology along with petrographic, mineralogical and geochemical studies have been conducted on recently found diamond-bearing kimberlitic and related rocks in the Rae Craton at Aviat and Qilalugaq, Melville Peninsula, north-east Canada. Magmatic rocks from the Aviat pipes have geochemical (both bulk rock and isotopic) and mineralogical signatures (e.g., core to rim Al and Ba enrichment in phlogopite) similar to Group I kimberlite. In contrast, Aviat intrusive sheets are similar to ‘micaceous’ Group II kimberlite (orangeite) in their geochemical and mineralogical characteristics (e.g., phlogopite and spinel compositions, highly enriched Sr isotopic signature). Qilalugaq rocks with the least crustal contamination have geochemical and mineralogical signatures [e.g., high SiO2, Al2O3 and H2O; low TiO2 and CO2; less fractionated REE (rare earth elements), presence of primary clinopyroxene, phlogopite and spinel compositions] that are similar to features displayed by olivine lamproites from Argyle, Ellendale and West Greenland. The Naujaat dykes, in the vicinity of Qilalugaq, are highly altered due to extensive silicification and carbonation. However, their bulk rock geochemical signature and phlogopite chemistry are similar to Group I kimberlite. U–Pb perovskite geochronology reveals that Aviat pipes and all rocks from Qilalugaq have an early Cambrian emplacement age (540–530 Ma), with the Aviat sheets being ~30 Ma younger. This volatile-rich potassic ultramafic magmatism probably formed by varying degrees of involvement of asthenospheric and lithospherically derived melts. The spectrum of ages and compositions are similar to equivalent magmatic rocks observed from the nearby north–eastern North America and Western Greenland. The ultimate trigger for this magmatism could be linked to Neoproterozoic continental rifting during the opening of the Iapetus Ocean and breakup of the Rodinia supercontinent.


Kimberlite Orangeite Olivine lamproite Cambrian 



Stornoway Diamond kindly provided financial and logistical support for fieldwork in 2013; BHP Billiton provided the 2003 drill core samples. Ken Armstrong from North Arrow Diamonds is thanked for allowing us to use the data and for several discussions regarding kimberlite geology of Qilalugaq. James LeBlanc, Barry Herchuk and Sarah Woodland are thanked for their assistance in sample preparation, chromatography and mass spectrometry during the project. Acme Analytical Laboratories (Vancouver) is acknowledged for carrying out the whole rock geochemistry work. We would like to thank the two reviewers David Phillips and Hugh O’Brien, and the guest editor Andrea Giuliani for their very constructive comments on the previous version of this manuscript, which have immensely improved this manuscript. LMH acknowledges financial support from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Discovery Grant to maintain the Canadian Centre for Isotopic Microanalysis (CCIM) U–Pb TIMS geochronology facility. Analytical work for this project was partly funded by a Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) grant to DGP. BAK acknowledges funding from the Geological Survey of Canada for the GEM Diamond project.

Supplementary material

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710_2018_632_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (135 kb)
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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Geological Survey of CanadaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Lucara DiamondVancouverCanada

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