Abstract

New Rb–Sr phlogopite and U–Pb perovskite age determinations for 12 of 38 known ultramafic bodies in the Buffalo Head Hills area of north-central Alberta show that kimberlitic magmatism occurred in at least two separate episodes during Late Cretaceous and Paleocene time. Nine kimberlites yield Coniacian to Campanian ages of between 88 ± 5 Ma (U–Pb perovskite, K5A) and 81.2 ± 2.3 Ma (Rb–Sr phlogopite, K252). A Danian U–Pb perovskite isochron age of 63.5 ± 0.7 Ma was obtained for the BM2 kimberlite, and Selandian Rb–Sr ages of 59.6 ± 2.8 and 60.3 ± 0.8 Ma were determined for the K1A and K19 bodies, respectively. These specific periods of magmatism correspond to characteristic intra-field features such as kimberlite spatial distribution, diamond content, rock classification, and mechanisms of emplacement. The ∼88–81 Ma group generally occurs in the northwestern part of the field and defines the diamond window for the Buffalo Head Hills kimberlite field. This volcanism is contemporaneous with sedimentary host rock deposition, which has important implications for the size and morphological complexity of the kimberlite bodies. The ∼64 Ma BM2 body represents the only known occurrence of hypabyssal-facies kimberlite in this field and is similar in terms of source composition to the ∼88–81 Ma kimberlites, but is not diamond bearing. The ∼60 Ma group occurs in the southwestern part of the field, is derived from a weakly diamondiferous – barren hybrid ultramafic source and features bodies that are eroded to present-day stratigraphic levels.

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