• Spectral Reflectance Characteristics of Kimberlite Indicator Minerals and Other Selected Mineral Grains

      McMahon, Matthew; Department of Earth Sciences (2013-04-09)
      High chromium content in kimberlite indicator minerals such as pyrope garnet and diopside is often correlated with the presence of diamonds. In this study, kimberlite indicator minerals were examined using visible light reflectance spectroscopy to determine if chromium content can be correlated with spectral absorption features. The depth of absorption features in the visible spectral region were correlated with the molecular percentage of chromium and other first series transition metal elements obtained by electron microprobe data. In the visible part of the spectrum, chromium is evident by 3 absorption features in the pyrope reflectance spectrum; one isolated and narrow feature at the wavelength 689 nm was used to correlate with the chromium mol %. The isolation of this feature in the pyrope spectra is advantageous since it is not directly affected by other proximal absorption bands that could be caused by other transition metals. Analysis of the feature indicates that as grain volume increases the depth of the absorption feature will also increase. Clustering grain volumes into fractions yields better correlation between absorption depth and mol % chromium. Other types of garnet (almandine, grossular, spessartine) and kimberlite indicator minerals (olivine, diopside, chromite, ilmenite) were analyzed to determine if other absorption features could be used to predict the proportion of specific transition metal elements. Diopside in particular illustrates the same isolated chromium absorption feature as pyrope and may indicate mol percent but needs further study with larger sample sets.