- © 2005 by the Mineralogical Society of America
Most diamonds form in a relatively narrow depth interval of Earth's subcontinental mantle between 150 and 250 km. From carbon isotope analyses of diamond obtained in the 1970s, it was first proposed that eclogitic diamonds form from crustal carbon recycled into the mantle by subduction and that the more abundant peridotitic diamonds formed from mantle carbon. More recent stable isotope studies using nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur, as well as carbon, combined with studies of mineral inclusions within diamonds, have strengthened arguments supporting and opposing the early proposal. The conflicting evidence is reconciled if mantle carbon is introduced via fluid into mantle eclogites and peridotites, some of which represent subducted oceanic crust.