Microdiamonds from the European Variscan Orogenic Belt
Monday, 15 December 2014: 9:20 AM
Diamond, along with coesite, has been discovered recently in the continental crustal rocks of the European Variscan orogenic belt, namely the Bohemian Massif (BM). In addition to the garnet-phengite gneiss in Germany, western BM, microdiamond occurs in major rock forming minerals – garnet, kyanite – and in zircon in ultrahigh-pressure rocks overprinted under high-pressure granulite facies conditions (c. 16-20 kbar, c. 1000°C) in the northern and eastern BM. Well-preserved 10-30 μm-sized microdiamonds from northern BM exhibit diverse morphologies (SEM data) depending upon the host rock type. Octahedral diamond occurs in felsic garnet-kyanite-feldspar-quartz rock (metasediment), whereas intermediate garnet-clinopyroxene-feldspar-quartz rock contains a cubo-octahedral variety. Diamond morphology can be thus controlled by solid impurities available in the medium of crystallization (K- vs. Ca-bearing fluids or melts), as shown by experiments. Pointed-bottom negatively oriented trigonal etch pits on the octahedral diamond faces developed due to diamond resorption at CO2-dominated environment (less than 50 wt % of H2O, experimental data), possibly by action of a residual fluid. SIMS determined δ13C values range from -22 to -21 ‰ for the felsic rock and from – 26 to – 33 for the intermediate one, corresponding to the typical range of organic carbon δ13C and inconsistent with a significant mantle carbon (δ13C ~ - 5 ‰) input. Diamond-bearing domains in zircon, also analysed by SIMS, yielded a Variscan U-Pb age of c. 340 Ma. The present stage of knowledge allows us to conclude that (i) metamorphic diamonds in the BM occur in lithologies of metasedimentary character, and their carbon source was organic; (ii) crustal-derived CO2-rich fluids with impurities played an important role in diamond formation and dissolution; (iii) diamonds formed during the Variscan orogenic cycle and (iv) diamonds are best preserved in the external domain of the Variscan orogenic belt.