Diamonds can form within eclogite (remnants of ancient subducted oceanic crust) in the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM), pieces of which may then be transported to the surface as xenoliths in kimberlites. These diamond-bearing xenoliths offer a rare opportunity to study diamonds in their host lithology. The morphology and surface features of diamonds record evidence of attack by diamond-aggressive melts/fluids, which results in resorption, rounding, and destruction of octahedral growth forms. The location and timing of such diamond-destruction processes remain controversial, and the kimberlite magma itself is often considered to be the primary culprit. We used X-ray computed tomography scanning to present a view of diamond morphology and distribution within 24 diamondiferous eclogites in unprecedented detail. These scans clearly capture diamond growth and destruction that occurred within the SCLM, prior to kimberlite entrainment. We show that euhedral diamonds in these eclogites are predominantly step-faced octahedra. This morphology is preserved even when the diamonds are exposed at the surface of the eclogites, indicating that kimberliteinduced resorption was not significant. Six eclogites contain only rounded diamonds with no distinct crystal faces, and their exposed surfaces on the exterior of the xenoliths are highly irregular, indicating diamond-destruction in the SCLM. In three cases, single xenoliths host both resorbed diamonds and step-faced octahedra, indicating multiple metasomatic events, some of which were diamond-aggressive and others diamond-friendly. These diamondiferous xenoliths provide snapshots of diamond growth and destruction in the SCLM, caught in the act.

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