Abstract

—We have studied volcanogenic diamonds in the context of a discussion of their genesis, including some assumption on their artificial origin. The carbon isotope composition of diamonds collected from the eruption products of Tolbachik volcano (δ13CVPDB from –22 to –29‰) is within the range of the δ13CVPDB values of natural diamonds, including those from kimberlites. The δ15NAir values of the Tolbachik diamonds, measured for the first time (–2.58 and –2.32‰), correspond to δ15NAir of volcanic gases and differ from that of atmospheric nitrogen (δ15NAir = 0‰), which may be expected in synthetic diamonds. In the studied volcanogenic diamonds, as in synthetic ones, the nitrogen impurity is unaggregated. However, such an unaggregated form of nitrogen is specific to many natural diamonds (e.g., variety II diamonds, according to Orlov’s classification). Impurity elements (Cl, F, O, S, Si, Al, Ca, and Na) are locally concentrated in volcanogenic diamonds; they are a constituent of micro- and nanoinclusions in them. The high contents of F and Cl in the studied diamonds are correlated with the composition of volcanic gases; there is no reason to expect a similar correlation in synthetic diamonds. Moreover, the studied cube-octahedral Tolbachik diamonds have a number of accessory forms, some of which are not observed in synthetic diamonds. Their surfaces are frequently covered with films composed of Mg–Fe and Ca–Mg silicates, aluminosilicates, sulfates, metal alloys, and native Al. Mineral inclusions in the studied diamonds are Mn–Ni–Si alloys and silicides varying in composition from (Mn,Ni)4Si to (Mn,Ni)5Si2, Mn5Si2, and pure Mn silicide MnSi. Summing up the obtained data, we conclude that volcanogenic diamonds form in a strongly reducing environment, in which silicides and native metals and their alloys are stable. The predominant cube-octahedral morphology of these diamonds and the unaggregated nitrogen impurity point to their short-term residence under high-temperature conditions. This makes them similar, to some extent, to synthetic diamonds. There are, however, clear differences as well. Volcanogenic diamonds are similar in compositional peculiarities, including isotope compositions, to natural diamonds that form under most unfavorable conditions, such as cuboids, balases, carbonado, and some diamonds of the eclogite paragenesis. They also resemble diamonds found in situ in harzburgite and chromitite of ophiolites. This suggests a specific mechanism of formation of both volcanogenic and ophiolitic diamonds in the oceanic lithosphere.

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