Makhtesh Ramon Complex Deposit (Southern Israel): A Window to the Upper Mantle

Lev Eppelbaum, Vladimir L. Vaksman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An integrated analysis of several regional geological and geophysical factors allowed to select the Makhtesh Ramon area (northern Negev, Israel) for sesarching diamondiferous associations. The most important regional factor is the Middle Cretaceous maximum in the development of upper mantle hot spots brightly appearing in this area. Analysis of magnetic (paleomagnetic), self-potential and ionselective data inambigously indicate presence of some bodies possibly having kimberlite (lamproite) origin occurring at small depths (8 - 50 m) in the western Makhtesh Ramon. Repeated erosion processes in the area caused removing most part of sedimentary associations that significantly simplified the processes of mineral sampling and rock withdrawn for geochemical and petrological analyses. Comprehensive mineralogical analyses enabled to detect the following minerals-satel lites of diamond associations: chrome-diopside, orange garnet, bright-crimson pyrope, picroilmenite, moissanite, corundum, black spinel, olivine, anatase and tourmaline (including black samples). These minerals do not rolled and oxidized that is an additional evidence of the neighboring occurrence of the indigenous rocks. Data of electronic microscopy show that the grains of (1) picroilmenite and (2) pyrope contain, respectively: (1) cobalt, chrome, magnesium and nickel and (2) chrome, magnesium and aluminum.This indicates that both picroilmenite and pyrope have the hyper-abyssal origin that also is an indicator of the possible occurring of diamondiferous pipes. List of secondary-importance satellite minerals includes feldspars, pyroxenes, magnetite, hematite, ilmenite, galenite, pyrite, limonite, mica, chromite, leucoxene, zircon, rutile, etc. These minerals (by their considering with the first group) are also indicators of diamond-bearing of the studied area. Identification of small plates of gold and silver as well as considerable traces of La, Ce, Th, Nb and Ta (Rare Earth Elements) also may be associated with the nearest kimberlite rock occurrence. The total number of recognized microdiamonds consists of more than 300 units; five diamonds (> 1 mm) were identified (sizes of the most largest crystals are 1.2 and 1.35 mm). Thus, on the basis of a set of geological-geophysical factors and identification of the mentioned minerals we can definitely estimate that the Makhtesh Ramon area is perspective for discovering diamondiferous rocks (kimberlite or lamproite pipes) as well as diamond crystals in loose deposits. Discovered silver-and gold-bearing and REE signatures may have independent importance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Mining Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Hot spot
  • Diamonds
  • Gold
  • REE


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