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Spectroscopic research on ultrahigh pressure (UHP) macrodiamond at Copeton and Bingara NSW, Eastern Australia

Spectrochimica Acta Part A Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2011.03.003
  • Diamond
  • Spectroscopy
  • Raman
  • Infrared
  • X-Ray
  • Uv-Fluorescent
  • Phanerozoic
  • Subduction
  • Ultrahigh Pressure Uhp
  • N Aggregation
  • Earth Science


Abstract Millions of macrodiamonds were mined from Cenozoic placers across Eastern Australia, 98% from within the Copeton and Bingara area (85 km across) in the Phanerozoic New England region of New South Wales (NSW). Raman spectroscopy of inclusions in uncut diamond, from the Copeton and Bingara parcels, identifies them as ultrahigh pressure (UHP) macrodiamond formed during termination of subduction by continental collision. Infrared spectral properties of the two parcels are critically similar in terms of nitrogen abundance (low in zoned diamond, high in unzoned diamond), requiring a pair of different growth mechanisms/protoliths. Within each parcel, the degrees of nitrogen aggregation are relatively strong and coherent, but they are so different from each other (moderate aggregation for Bingara, strong for Copeton) that the two parcels require separate primary and local sources. The local sources are post-tectonic alkali basaltic intrusions which captured UHP minerals (garnet, pyroxene, diamond) from eclogite-dominated UHP terranes (density stranded at depth—mantle, lower crust). X-ray diffraction studies on Copeton diamond indicate a normal density, despite previous reports of anomalously high density. For non-fluorescent diamond, a 2nd order Raman peak, which is prominent in theoretical perfect diamond and in African cratonic diamond, is suppressed in Copeton and Bingara UHP macrodiamond. Pervasive deformation during macrodiamond growth probably causes this suppression, the strong nitrogen aggregation, and the exceptional durability documented through industrial use.

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