Mantle Exhibition

Messengers from the Mantle: Diamonds and Craton Roots

This extraordinary multi-format exhibition "Messengers from the Mantle" highlights the specimens and science behind a unique research collection of mantle rocks delivered to South Africa's surface over 100 million years ago in episodes of explosive kimberlite volcanism. The large exhibit consists of 13 sections covering the Structure of the Earth, Kimberlites, Peridotites, Eclogites, Metasomatism, Megacrysts, Diamonds, Exploration, Alluvial Diamonds, Marine Diamonds, History of Diamond Mining, History of the Mantle Room and Unsolved Mysteries. Diamonds are brought to the earth's surface in kimberlites. They act as a time capsule uniquely preserving evidence of ancient processes, as well as providing information on the timing and nature of diamond formation itself.

The exhibit features rocks that have been sourced from the so called “Mantle Room” research collection at the University of Cape Town, which is the most extensive collection of deep Earth samples from southern Africa in the world. It contains over 14,000 mantle and deep crustal xenolith specimens sourced from more than a hundred kimberlites in southern Africa and a number of others from around the world. The Mantle Room has been and remains a destination for mantle researchers worldwide. They have used these specimens to provide insight about the timing and processes involved in the generation of the earliest continental nuclei, the Earth’s Archaean cratons.

The premiere of the Messengers from the Mantle Exhibit was at the 35th International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa in 2016. The exhibition will be presented at the 11th International Kimberlite Conference by the Kimberlite Research Group at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The exhibition has been put together by a team of scientists from the University of Cape Town and the Mineral Services Group under the leadership of Prof. John J. Gurney, Dr. Phil Janney and Dr. Rory Moore. The project has been funded through generous donations from individuals and companies. 


Below is the floor plan of the exhibit.