Kimberlite facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Kimberlite
Igneous rock
Kimberlite picture.jpg
Kimberlite from the United States
Composition
Forsteritic olivine and carbonate minerals, with trace amounts of magnesian ilmenite, chromium pyrope, almandine-pyrope, chromium diopside, phlogopite, enstatite and titanium-poor chromite. Sometimes contains diamonds.

Kimberlite is an igneous rock, which sometimes contains diamonds. It is named after the town of Kimberley in South Africa, where the discovery of an 83.5-carat (16.70 g) diamond called the Star of South Africa in 1869 spawned a diamond rush and the digging of the open-pit mine called the Big Hole.

Kimberlite occurs in the Earth's crust in vertical structures known as kimberlite pipes, as well as igneous dykes. Kimberlite also occurs as horizontal sills. Kimberlite pipes are the most important source of mined diamonds today.

Formation occurs at depths between 150 and 450 kilometres (93 and 280 mi), potentially from enriched exotic mantle compositions, and they are erupted rapidly and violently, often with considerable carbon dioxide and other volatile components. It is this depth of melting and generation that makes kimberlites prone to hosting diamond xenocrysts. Kimberlites are the most important source of primary diamonds.

Despite its relative rarity, kimberlite has attracted attention because it serves as a carrier of diamonds and garnet peridotite mantle xenoliths to the Earth's surface.

Two Jurassic kimberlite dikes exist in Pennsylvania. One, the Gates-Adah Dike, outcrops on the Monongahela River on the border of Fayette and Greene Counties. The other, the Dixonville-Tanoma Dike in central Indiana County was discovered by miners. Similarly aged kimberlite is found in several locations in New York.

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Kimberlite Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.