Meet Goldschmidtite – A New Mineral Found in Diamond from Earth’s Mantle

The new mineral goldschmidtite (green) within a diamond from South Africa. Image credit: Meyer et al., 2019. American Mineralogist

A new mineral, goldschmidtite, has been discovered in diamond brought to the surface from a depth of approximately 170 kilometers. The Kaapvaal craton in South Africa is well known for its diamond-bearing kimberlites, igneous rocks that form at considerable depths and are brought to the surface rapidly. Due to their deep origin, kimberlites often carry diamonds and mantle fragments called xenoliths. Named in honor of Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, who is often seen as the founder of modern geochemistry, goldschmidtite has an unusual composition for a mineral from Earth’s mantle with high concentrations of niobium, potassium, and rare earth elements such as lanthanum and cerium. Since the surrounding mantle is enriched in iron and magnesium, goldschmidtite must have formed under exceptional processes to record these high concentrations of unusual elements. READ MORE