Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 112, Supplement 2, pp 719–736 | Cite as

Evidence for a 200 km thick diamond-bearing root beneath the Central Mackenzie Valley, Northwest Territories, Canada? Diamond indicator mineral geochemistry from the Horn Plateau and Trout Lake regions

  • Stéphane P. PoitrasEmail author
  • D. Graham Pearson
  • Matthew F. Hardman
  • Thomas Stachel
  • Geoff M. Nowell
  • Scott Cairns
Original Paper


The Central Mackenzie Valley (CMV) area of Northwest Territories is underlain by Precambrian basement belonging to the North American Craton. The potential of this area to host kimberlitic diamond deposits is relatively high judging from the seismologically-defined lithospheric thickness, age of basement rocks (2.2–1.7 Ga) and presence of kimberlite indicator minerals (KIMs) in Quaternary sediments. This study presents data for a large collection of KIMs recovered from stream sediments and till samples from two study areas in the CMV, the Horn Plateau and Trout Lake. In the processed samples, peridotitic garnets dominate the KIM grain count for both regions (> 25% each) while eclogitic garnet is almost absent in both regions (< 1% each). KIM chemistry for the Horn Plateau indicates significant diamond potential, with a strong similarity to KIM systematics from the Central and Western Slave Craton. The most significant issue to resolve in assessing the local diamond potential is the degree to which KIM chemistry reflects local and/or distal kimberlite bodies. Radiogenic isotope analysis of detrital kimberlite-related CMV ilmenite and rutile grains requires at least two broad age groups for eroded source kimberlites. Statistical analysis of the data suggests that it is probable that some of these KIMs were derived from primary and/or secondary sources within the CMV area, while others may have been transported to the area from the east-northeast by Pleistocene glacial and/or glaciofluvial systems. At this stage, KIM chemistry does not allow the exact location of the kimberlitic source(s) to be constrained.


Kimberlite indicator minerals Garnet Ilmenite Hf isotopes Geothermobarometry Diamond exploration 



The authors thank the NTGS, Peregrine Diamonds, Diavik Diamond Mines and Dominion Diamonds for supplying ilmenites for Hf isotope characterization. Andrew Schaefer is thanked for his seismic tomography cross-sections. This manuscript was significantly improved by reviews from Bruce Kjarsgaard and Curtis Brett and guest editor Alan Kobussen. The authors also thank Andrew Locock, Chiranjeeb Sarkar, Martin Von Dollen, Mark Labbe, Yannick Bussweiler and Yan Luo for valuable guidance and discussions regarding analytical techniques and publishing the data. We gratefully acknowledge the permission of the NTGS to publish this data and are grateful for funding student salary and analytical costs associated with this research project. The remainder of funding was provided by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program grant to Pearson (Grant # 479905-2016).

Supplementary material

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Earth Sciences, Science LabsDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  3. 3.Northwest Territories Geological SurveyYellowknifeCanada

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