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Publication - Dr Laura Speich

    The behaviour of platelets in natural diamonds and the development of a new mantle thermometer


    Speich, L, Kohn, SC, Bulanova, GP & Smith, CB, 2018, ‘The behaviour of platelets in natural diamonds and the development of a new mantle thermometer’. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, vol 173.


    Platelets are one of the most common defects occurring in natural diamonds but their behaviour has not previously been well understood. Recent technical advances, and a much improved understanding of the correct interpretation of the main infrared (IR) feature associated with platelets (Speich et al. 2017), facilitated a systematic study of platelets in 40 natural diamonds. Three different types of platelet behaviour were identified here. Regular diamonds show linear correlations between both B-centre concentrations and platelet density and also between platelet size and platelet density. Irregular diamonds display reduced platelet density due to platelet breakdown, anomalously large or small platelets and a larger platelet size distribution. These features are indicative of high mantle storage temperatures. Finally, a previously unreported category of subregular diamonds is defined. These diamonds experienced low mantle residence temperatures and show smaller than expected platelets. Combining the systematic variation in platelet density with temperatures of mantle storage, determined by nitrogen aggregation, we can demonstrate that platelet degradation proceeds at a predictable rate. Thus, in platelet-bearing diamonds where N aggregation is complete, an estimate of annealing temperature can now be made for the first time.

    Full details in the University publications repository