Abstract

Over 30 graphite aggregates that represent pseudomorphs after diamond were manually extracted from a garnet pyroxenite layer in the Beni Bousera peridotite massif, northern Morocco. The inclusions present in the aggregates were characterized by combining scanning electron microscopy, micro-Raman spectroscopy and cathodoluminescence. Large composite clinopyroxene–orthopyroxene–garnet inclusions (ca. 500 μm across) are common in the core of the graphite aggregates. Silicate films with a thickness of a few micrometres occur intercalated between graphite flakes throughout each aggregate. They are of basaltic composition and are interpreted as partial melts formed by in situ melting of the large composite inclusions and, possibly, of the host pyroxenite, during the Beni Bousera massif uplift. In addition, various solid inclusions composed of chlorides, sulphates and carbonates are found to be evenly distributed irrespective of the graphite aggregate texture (coarse in the core, in some instances fine-grained on the rim). Diamond crystals, 0.5–2 μm in size, were also observed in several aggregates, apparently included in large graphite flakes, and were characterized using cathodoluminescence and Raman micro-spectroscopies. They are interpreted as relics of large mantle-stage diamonds, now heavily graphitized. This finding confirms earlier propositions that the graphite aggregates in Beni Bousera and Ronda garnet pyroxenites are pseudomorphs after diamond and raises questions on the kinetics of graphitization.

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