About the Exhibition

Messengers from the Mantle

The Kimberlite Research Group at the University of Cape Town will be presenting an extraordinary multi-format exhibition called Messengers from the Mantle: Diamonds and Craton Roots at the 35th International Geological Congress 2016 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from August 29 to September 4, 2016.

The Messengers from the Mantle: Diamonds and Craton Roots exhibition 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.

It highlights the specimens and science behind a unique research collection of southern African mantle rocks brought to the surface over a long period of geologic time in episodes of explosive kimberlite volcanism. 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. The project has been funded through generous donations from individuals and companies (See Donor Page).

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

Also key to the story behind Messengers from the Mantle are diamonds brought to the surface in kimberlites. This mineral acts 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 will show how diamonds and their inclusions have aided our understanding of the evolution of craton roots and, in turn, how advances in understanding the geochemical history of the cratonic mantle has aided in the search for diamonds.

Tours of the Mantle Room are being offered as part of the 35th IGC field trip program. For further information, please follow the link MANTLE ROOM TOUR