Barbara Scott-Smith

Adjunct Professor

(604) 984-9609
faculty

Igneous rock nomenclature : The recognition of rocks with the potential of carrying diamonds in economic quantities requires the understanding of the rock type classification of kimberlites, lamproites and related rocks found during diamond exploration programmes (e.g. Mitchell et al. 1999). This has required the ongoing development of definitions of certain rock types (e.g. Clement et al. 1984; Scott Smith and Skinner 1984c) as well as of rock type classification schemes for these types of igneous rocks (e.g. Scott Smith 1995c). Of particular interest is the different nature of two of the primary sources of economic quantities of diamond, kimberlites and lamproites (e.g. Scott Smith 1992a, 1996a,b). Member of the former working group on "lamprophyric, lamproitic and kimberlitic rocks" of the International Union of Geological Sciences Sub-Commission on the "Systematic of Igneous Rocks" (Woolley et al. 1996).

The nature of the primary host rocks to economic quantities of diamond : The consulting investigations result in the increased understanding of both single bodies and provinces of kimberlites and lamproites (e.g. Skinner and Scott 1979; Scott and Skinner 1979; Scott Smith and Skinner 1984a,b; Scott Smith et al. 1989, 1994; McKinlay et al. 1997, 1998; Wood et al. 1998; Kong et al. 1999; Scott Smith 2007d). The bodies can then be compared and contrasted to improve the characterisation of these rock types (e.g. Scott Smith 1996a,b).

Detailed internal geology individual kimberlite (or related rock) bodies : The economic evaluation or mining of kimberlite (or related rocks) requires a detailed understanding of the geology of any body under investigation. This requires the identification of different phases of kimberlite within a single body using a variety of methods such as mineralogical and textural classifications, the compositions of the rock forming minerals and the nature of the mantle-derived xenocrysts. Different phases of kimberlite or lamproites typically carry different concentrations of diamond. Examples are Doyle et al. (1999), Coopersmith et al. (2006) and Harder et al. (2006).

Near surface emplacement histories/models : Understanding the internal geology of a body (see above) requires the interpretation of the near surface emplacement history and the development of new models to cater for contrasting types of formation. Volcanology is an important part of these interpretations. Many aspects of kimberlite emplacement appear to be unique when compared to other rock types (Scott Smith 1995 a,b; Scott Smith et al. 1996; Hetman et al. 2003, 2004; Webb et al. 2004; Berryman et al. 2004; van Straaten et al. 2006; Scott Smith 2008a; Masun and Scott Smith 2008; Mitchell et al. 2008). Worldwide bodies can be compared and contrasted in an attempt to understand the main processes and controls involved in their formation (e.g. Field and Scott Smith 1999; Scott Smith 2008b). Some important controls on the emplacement of kimberlites are becoming apparent. Textural classifications form a vital part of these investigations (see below).

Textural classification of kimberlites and related rocks: Some aspects of the textures of kimberlites appear to be different from most other rock types. The textures reflect the different styles of kimberlite emplacement. The unique aspect of kimberlite textures has required the development and continued refinement of kimberlite specific textural-genetic classifications (e.g. Scott Smith 1996a; Field and Scott Smith 1998b; Scott Smith et al. 2008).

Matrix mineral chemistry : Matrix mineral chemistry is a vital extension to the petrography of kimberlites and related rock types. The compositions of the rock forming minerals of magmatic rocks can be used to distinguish different rock types with different economic potential (e.g. kimberlites, lamproites and alnoites). The compositions of these minerals are also very useful in separating different phases of kimberlite or pulses of magma which have reached the surface at different times.

Petrogenesis : The improved characterisation of the different rock types resulting from the above investigations allows for better petrogenetic models to be proposed (e.g. Mitchell et al. 1999).

Barbara Scott Smith earned her Ph.D. in 1977 from Edinburgh University and then worked as a principal research mineralogist for De Beers in South Africa. Since 1982, she has been based in Vancouver, Canada as an independent consultant, and the President of Scott-Smith Petrology Inc., offering specialist services relating to world-wide diamond exploration, evaluation and mining projects for a variety of major to junior companies. Investigations of the parental magmas forming igneous provinces and of the geology and near surface emplacement of kimberlite bodies, together with the development of resource models, are used to understand diamond distributions and their economic potential.

In 2001, Barbara initiated and developed the De Beers Canada Inc. Kimberlite Petrology Unit in Vancouver until its planned move to the Toronto head office in late 2003. Since then, in addition to continued consulting, Scott-Smith Petrology Inc. now also offers unique opportunities to learn about kimberlites. A variety of hands-on "Basics" and "In Depth" courses focus on the practical application of kimberlite geology to the diamond industry. The courses are held at a dedicated facility and are based on an extensive world wide and ever growing sample and drillcore collection. In 2003 she co-convened the 8th International Kimberlite Conference and in 2006 the International Workshop on Kimberlite Emplacement and was Guest Editor of both Proceedings Volumes.

Barbara is author or co-author of over 35 refereed publications on igneous rock nomenclature, the nature of the primary host rocks of economic quantities of diamond and the geology and near surface emplacement of kimberlites. She has field experience in 25 countries and is considered to be the most experienced kimberlite petrologist in the world. Barbara has participated in mentoring and training a number of M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and many employees of client exploration and mining companies.