Attrition in the kimberlite system

Jones, T.J. and Russell, J.K. (2018) Attrition in the kimberlite system. Mineralogy and Petrology, 112 (supple). pp. 491-501. ISSN 0930-0708

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The sustained transportation of particles in a suspension commonly results in particle attrition leading to grain size reduction and shape modification. Particle attrition is a well-studied phenomenon that has mainly focussed on sediments produced in aeolian or fluvial environments. Here, we present analogue experiments designed to explore processes of attrition in the kimberlite system; we focus on olivine as it is the most abundant constituent of kimberlite. The attrition experiments on olivine use separate experimental set-ups to approximate two natural environments relevant to kimberlites. Tumbling mill experiments feature a low energy system supporting near continual particle-particle contact and are relevant to re-sedimentation and dispersal processes. Experiments performed in a fluidized particle bed constitute a substantially higher energy environment pertinent to kimberlite ascent and eruption. The run-products of each experiment are analysed for grain size reduction and shape modification and these data are used to elucidate the rates and extents of olivine attrition as a function of time and energy. Lastly, we model the two experimental datasets with an empirical rate equation that describes the production of daughter products (fines) with time. Both datasets approach a fines production limit, or plateau, at long particle residence times; the fluidized system is much more efficient producing a substantially higher fines content and reaches the plateau faster. Our experimental results and models provide a way to forensically examine a wide range of processes relevant to kimberlite on the basis of olivine size and shape properties.

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Journal Article
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Mineralogy and Petrology
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06 Oct 2022 13:40
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22 Nov 2022 11:50