- © 2003 Geological Society of South Africa
Group II kimberlite dykes occur in small, dominantly en-echelon dyke-fracture arrays, with individual dyke-fractures showing small angular variations from their array trends (5° to 15°). The analysed dyke systems are characterized by closely matching opposing dyke contacts, “in-situ” breccia, multiple kimberlite stringers within a dilated dyke-parallel fracture cleavage, wedge-shaped apophyses in bent bridges at dyke-fracture offsets/overlaps, kimberlite-free offset/overlap areas and calcite vein fibres orthogonal to dyke contacts. Commonly found microscopic structures include synemplacement/syncrystallization calcite veinlets, containing high aspect ratio stretched fibrous calcite, and elongate phlogopite phenocrysts and serpentinized olivine phenocrysts growing across the width of these veins. Both macro- and microscopic structures support a model of orthogonal host rock dilation during kimberlite emplacement. Terminations of dyke-fracture segments show minimal curvature or overlap, suggesting that remote horizontal stresses dominated during their emplacement (“passive” intrusion), as opposed to magma overpressured systems wherein dyke or dyke-fracture overlaps curve strongly towards each other (“active” intrusion). The application of Mohr diagrams suggests that low differential stresses, with no or only a very minor shear component, prevailed at the time of emplacement. The dominance of remote horizontal forces, imparting small differential stresses to the brittle portions of the crust, a closely-spaced, dilating dyke-parallel fracture cleavage ahead of the dyke tip (imparting a local suction) and the low-volume, low-viscosity, highly volatile nature of kimberlitic magmas may explain their empirically-constrained high emplacement velocities. This, in turn, explains the means by which such magmas may entrain significant volumes of high specific-gravity mantle material. Mobile hydrofracturing in the fringe zones around dilated craton-scale jointing is proposed to be a viable mechanism for kimberlite emplacement.