At the core of many Earth-scale processes is the question of what the deep mantle is made of. The only direct samples from such extreme depths are diamonds and their inclusions. It is commonly assumed that these inclusions reflect ambient mantle or are syngenetic with diamond, but these assumptions are rarely tested. We have studied inclusion–host growth relationships in two potentially superdeep diamonds from Juina (Brazil) containing nine inclusions of Fe-rich (XFe ≈0.33 to ≥0.64) ferropericlase-magnesiowüstite (FM) by X-ray diffractometry, X-ray tomography, cathodoluminescence, electron backscatter diffraction, and electron microprobe analysis. The inclusions share a common [112] zone axis with their diamonds and have their major crystallographic axes within 3°–8° of those of their hosts. This suggests a specific crystallographic orientation relationship (COR) resulting from interfacial energy minimization, disturbed by minor post-entrapment rotation around [112] due to plastic deformation. The observed COR and the relationships between inclusions and diamond growth zones imply that FM nucleated during the growth history of the diamond. Therefore, these inclusions may not provide direct information on the ambient mantle prior to diamond formation. Consequently, a “non-pyrolitic” composition of the lower mantle is not required to explain the occurrence of Fe-rich FM inclusions in diamonds. By identifying examples of mineral inclusions that reflect the local environment of diamond formation and not ambient mantle, we provide both a cautionary tale and a means to test diamond-inclusion time relationships for proper application of inclusion studies to whole-mantle questions.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.