Kimberlite Pipes - but no diamonds (Cretaceous)

Kimperlite Pipes

Following Gondwana breakup, there was a period of unique igneous activity. This formed numerous volcanoes of kimberlite rock, commonly known to contain diamonds. 

Unfortunately, the kimberlite pipes of KwaZulu-Natal have not yielded any significant diamonds. This is due to the kimberlites having originated from beneath the Natal Metamorphic Province. Carbon crystallises to form diamond under high pressure and low temperature - conditions only found beneath the Kaapvaal Craton, such as in northern Lesotho.  

247 ct diamond 

247 ct rough Diamond, Letseng diamond mine

(Photo: Mike Laing)
  Kimberlite pipe structure  
 Letseng Diamond Mine

The shematic diagram shows the structure of a KZN kimberlite pipe.

The Letseng diamond mine, in the kingdom of Lesotho. At an elevation of 3,100 m Letseng is the world's highest diamond mine.

(Photo: Mike Laing)

Contact Webmaster | View the Promotion of Access to Information Act | View our Privacy Policy
© University of KwaZulu-Natal: All Rights Reserved