40Ar/39Ar ages in mantle xenolith phlogopites: determining the ages of multiple lithospheric mantle events and diatreme ascent rates in southern Africa and Malaita, Solomon Islands
Jo-Anne Wartho, Simon P. Kelley, 2003. "40Ar/39Ar ages in mantle xenolith phlogopites: determining the ages of multiple lithospheric mantle events and diatreme ascent rates in southern Africa and Malaita, Solomon Islands", Geochronology: Linking the Isotopic Record with Petrology and Textures, D. Vance, W. Müller, I. M. Villa
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Kimberlites are extraordinary natural phenomena, ascending through the Earth’s lithosphere, entraining xenoliths, to erupt at the surface within hours to days of their inception deep within the lithospheric mantle. With the realization that some Ar/Ar phlogopite grain core ages may be indicative of geological events, we have undertaken high spatial resolution Ar/Ar dating of phlogopites in xenoliths and megacrysts from Kimberley, Monastery and Letseng in southern Africa, and Malaita, in the Solomon Islands, to est whether other mantle phlogopite cores may yield meaningful ages.
Modelling of Ar diffusive loss profiles from phlogopite grain boundaries to cores provides information on both the eruption age and the duration of outgassing within the kimberlite magma, and hence yields estimates on diatreme ascent rates. The ascent durations are very similar for all of the southern African pipes studied, yielding durations of 0.9–6.9 days, assuming an average kimberlite magma temperature of 1000 °C. These can be compared to estimates from phlogopite xenoliths from Siberian diamond-bearing kimberlites yielding ascent durations of 2–15 hours (assuming the same magma temperature).
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Isotope geochemistry has produced many technical developments in the past decade or so that have revolutionized the potential information available on the tectonics of metamorphic belts from geochronology. These include the ability to date minerals and rocks on small spatial scales, scales that at last approach those from which other types of information — structural and petrological — are obtained. However, interpreting the new data, and their integration with the other datasets available, is not straightforward and requires careful chemical and textural observations that go hand-inhand with the geochronology. The increasing realization of the importance of this approach has led to a number of symposia at international conferences devoted to this topic in recent years. The set of papers in this book emanates from one such symposium and describes recent progress in integrating this new information with other datasets from metamorphic petrology on a mineral and sub-mineral scale.