Elemental and isotopic geochemistry of kimberlites from the Lac de Gras field, northwest territories, Canada
Detailed major/trace element and high-precision Hf-Nd-Sr isotope data has been acquired for 86 samples of kimberlites from the recently discovered Lac de Gras kimberlite field in the Northwest Territories, Canada, plus 23 samples from other Canadian kimberlite occurrences. This constitutes the most comprehensive geochemical database available for kimberlites at the present time, and allows detailed comparisons to be made with the well-documented kimberlites of the Kaapvaal craton, southern Africa. Major and trace element data shows that some Lac de Gras kimberlites have interacted extensively with continental crust, whereas others are minimally contaminated with crust but have physically incorporated large quantities (˃30%) of lithospheric mantle peridotite. Fresh, minimally-contaminated kimberlites from Lac de Gras have both elemental and isotopic characteristics that are transitional relative to those typical of southern African Group I and II kimberlites. The Hf-Nd isotope variations of these samples also define a linear array that strongly suggests mixing of two or more components/reservoirs within the mantle. Isotopic mixing models and mass balance considerations constrain the most likely candidate components/reservoirs to be depleted sub-continental lithospheric mantle and a component with an isotopically-enriched, negative ΔɛHf signature that is derived from beneath the lithosphere. Such a component has previously been identified in southern African kimberlites, indicating that it is globally extensive within the mantle. Its resfriction to magmas generated at great depths, and its unusual Hf isotope signature also suggest that it may reside in isolation at some mantle boundary layer. Ancient oceanic crust, generated by melting in the presence of garnet and subsequently subducted and stored below the lithosphere, could evolve to negative ΔɛHf compositions. Melts of this material, variably recombined with the depleted, garnet- rich melting residua that constitute the lithosphere, can then account for the Hf-Nd kimberiite isotopic array. Trace element characteristics, such as K and Sr anomalies, are consistent with those of OIB-like magmas derived from within the convecting mantle.