Very few zircon-bearing, kimberlite-hosted mantle eclogite xenoliths have been identified to date; however, the zircon they contain is crucial for our understanding of subcratonic lithospheric mantle evolution and eclogite genesis. In this study, we constrain the characteristics of zircon from mantle eclogite xenoliths based on existing mineralogical and geochemical data from zircons from different geological settings, and on the inferred origin of mantle eclogites. Given the likely origin and subsequent evolution of mantle eclogites, we infer that the xenoliths can contain zircons with magmatic, metamorphic and xenogenic (i.e. kimberlitic zircon) origins. Magmatic zircon can be inherited from low-pressure mafic oceanic crust precursors, or might form during direct crystallization of eclogites from primary mantle-derived melts at mantle pressures. Metamorphic zircon within mantle eclogites has a number of possible origins, ranging from low-pressure hydrothermal alteration of oceanic crustal protoliths to metasomatism related to kimberlite magmatism. This study outlines a possible approach for the identification of inherited magmatic zircon within subduction-related mantle eclogites as well as xenogenic kimberlitic zircon within all types of mantle eclogites. We demonstrate this approach using zircon grains from kimberlite-hosted eclogite xenoliths from the Kasai Craton, which reveals that most, if not all, of these zircons were most likely incorporated as a result of laboratory-based contamination.

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