Garnet peridotites from Williams kimberlites, north-central Montana, U.S.A

Open-File Report 83-172




Two Williams kimberlites, 250x350m and 37x390m, in the eastern part of a swarm of 30 middle Eocene alnoitic diatremes in north-central Montana, USA, contain xenoliths of garnet-bearing lherzolites, harzburgites and dunites, in addition to spinel peridotites and upper and lower crustal amphibolites and granulites. Colluvial purple, red, and pink garnets are dominantly Mg- and Cr-rich, indicating their derivation From peridotites or megacrysts, and have CaO and Cr2O3 contents that fall in the lherzolite trend. Temperatures were calculated by the Lindsley-Dixon 20 kb method for lherzolites and by the O'Neill-Wood method for harzburgites and dunites, and pressures were calculated by the MacGregor method, or were assumed to be 50 kb for dunites. Most peridotites equilibrated at 1220-1350?C and 50-60 kb, well above a 44mW/m2 shield geotherm and on or at higher P than the graphite-diamond boundary. Four lherzolites are low T-P (830-990?C, 23-42 kb) and are close to the shield geotherm. All four low T-P lherzolites have coarse textures whereas the high T-P cluster has both coarse and porphyroclastic textures, indicating a range of conditions of deformation and recrystallization in a restricted high T-P range. The tiny size (0.01-0.2 mm) of granulated and euhedral olivines in several xenoliths shows that deformation was occurring just prior to incorporation in kimberlite and that ascent was rapid enough (40-70 km/hr) to retard Further coarsening of fine-grained olivine. For other high T-P peridotites, cessation of deformation and beginning of recrystallization before or during inclusion in kimberlite is suggested by larger (up to 3mm) euhedral olivines in a matrix of fine granulated olivine or by optical continuity of large and nearby small olivines. Two low T-P lherzolites contain distinctive, phlogopite-rimmed, 5-8mm clots of moderate-Cr garnet + Cr-spinel + Cr-diopside + enstatite that are inferred to have formed by reaction of an initial high-Cr garnet brought into the garnet + spinel stability Field. This suggests a reduction in pressure and temperature prior to inclusion in the kimberlite, followed by metasomatic introduction of phlogopite. These textural and compositional variations of peridotites seem most compatible with kimberlite generation and ascent during dynamic diapiric perturbation of the upper mantle.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Garnet peridotites from Williams kimberlites, north-central Montana, U.S.A
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey,
28 p. ill., maps ;28 cm.