Abstract

The Luobusa ophiolite of the Yarlung–Zangbo (southern Tibet) suture zone and the Donqiao ophiolite of the Bangong–Nujiang (northern Tibet) suture zone are allochthonous bodies that contain possibly diamond-bearing mantle peridotites and podiform chromitites. The mantle sections in both massifs consist chiefly of harzburgite and diopside-bearing harzburgite with abundant lenses of dunite and chromitite. These ultramafic rocks are more strongly depleted than typical abyssal peridotites and their whole-rock and mineral chemistries suggest formation above a subduction zone. An unusual mineral association (diamond, SiC, graphite, native chromium, Ni–Fe alloy, Cr2+-bearing chromite), indicating a high-pressure, reducing environment, occurs in both the peridotites and chromitites. We suggest that these ophiolites were generated originally in a suprasubduction zone environment and were later carried deep into the mantle along a second subduction zone, at which time the diamonds and other high-pressure minerals were formed. It is not yet clear whether the diamonds formed by high-pressure metamorphism of the oceanic crust or by crystallization from mantle melts, but their occurrence in chromitites and harzburgites suggests a metamorphic origin. During the collision of India with the Eurasian plate, the mantle sections were tectonically emplaced at shallow crustal levels rapidly enough to preserve the diamonds.

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