The central Superior Craton hosts both the diamondiferous 1.1 Ga Kyle Lake and Jurassic Attawapiskat kimberlites. A major thermal event related to the Midcontinent Rift at ca. 1.1 Ga induced an elevated geothermal gradient that largely destroyed an older generation of diamonds, raising the question of when, and how, the diamond inventory beneath Attawapiskat was formed. We determined Re–Os isotope systematics of sulphides included in diamonds from Victor by isotope dilution negative thermal ionisation mass spectrometry in order to obtain insights into the age and nature of the diamond source in the context of regional tectonothermal evolution. Regression of the peridotitic inclusion data ( of 16) yields a 718 ± 49 Ma age, with an initial 187Os/188Os ratio of 0.1177 ± 0.0016, i.e. depleted at the time of formation ( −3.7 ± 1.3). Consequently, Re depletion model ages calculated for these samples are systematically overestimated. Given that reported 187Os/188Os in olivine from Attawapiskat xenoliths varies strongly (0.1012–0.1821), the low and nearly identical initial Os of sulphide inclusions combined with their high 187Re/188Os (median 0.34) suggest metasomatic formation from a mixed source. This was likely facilitated by percolation of amounts of melt sufficient to homogenise Os, (re)crystallise sulphide and (co)precipitate diamond; that is, the sulphide inclusions and their diamond host are synchronous if not syngenetic.
The ∼720 Ma age corresponds to rifting beyond the northern craton margin during Rodinia break-up. This suggests mobilisation of volatiles (C, N, S) and Os due to attendant mantle stretching and metasomatism by initially oxidising and S-undersaturated melts, which ultimately produced lherzolitic diamonds with high N contents compared to older Kyle Lake diamonds. Thus, some rift-influenced settings are prospective with respect to diamond formation. They are also important sites of hidden, intra-lithospheric volatile redistribution that can be revealed by diamond studies. Later emplacement of the Attawapiskat kimberlites, linking the carbon cycle to the surface, was associated with renewed disturbance during passage of the Great Meteor Hotspot. Lherzolitic diamond formation from oxidising small-volume melts may be the expression of an early and deep stage of the lithospheric conditioning required for the successful eruption of kimberlites, which complements the late and shallow emplacement of volatile-rich metasomes after upward displacement of a redox freezing front.