Kimberlites and lamproites are the only known economically significant sources of diamonds. These small carrot-shaped volcanic pipes originate from ultramafic material in the upper mantle and often occur in clusters of up to forty pipes. They serve as transportation mechanisms, carrying diamond xenocrysts from deep within the earth to the near-surface.
Gravity, magnetic, resistivity, and electromagnetic surveying have all been used in diamond exploration, primarily in the attempt to locate kimberlites. However, because of the size, geometry, and composition of these features, no single method has proven to be successful. Due to their lack of dependence on strike and their complete wavefield sampling, 3C-3D seismic surveys have tremendous potential for detailed imaging of three-dimensional bodies. Therefore, it is possible that this method will be successful in delineating high-angle intrusives, such as kimberlite and lamproite pipes, which have sharp contrasts in acoustic impedance with surrounding rock.
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