Super-deep Diamond Contains Earth's Mineral Never Seen Before

Super-deep Diamond Contains Earth's Mineral Never Seen Before

Super-deep Diamond Contains Earth's Mineral Never Seen Before

A schist in the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a geologist's best friend.

Scientists have found a never-before-seen mineral in a diamond formed deep in the Earth's mantle. It is the fourth richest mineral in the world - perovskite calcium silicate, which usually, owing to the chemical specificity, not "survival" on the Earth's surface, namely one kilometer depth, where he was found in South Africa.

Researchers said that the presence of ice inside the diamonds suggests that pockets of watery fluids exist deep in the mantle, the Earth's layer that is sandwiched between the crust and the core and is made up mostly of solid and very hot rock under enormous pressure. But since nobody has been able to keep the mineral stable at accessible depths, it has proven very hard to study. "The only possible way of preserving this mineral at Earth's surface is when it's trapped in an unyielding container like a diamond".

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He said the particular diamond in question would have sustained more than 24 billion pascals of pressure, equivalent to 240,000 atmospheres.

"Diamonds are really unique ways of seeing what's in the Earth. It provides fundamental proof of what happens to the fate of oceanic plates as they descend into the depths of the Earth", he added.

As mentioned, it is believed that the Earth's mantle is mostly solid and made up of solid rocks and elements such as potassium, iron, and aluminum. Pearson explained that the diamonds from the mine are among not only the most commercially valuable in the world, but they are also the most scientifically valuable, providing insight into the deepest parts of Earth's core.

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Even though it was previously thought that slabs of Earth's crust sink into the planet's hot interior below bone dry, they could still be bringing surface water down into the mantle with them. The diamond originated roughly 700 kilometres below Earth's surface, whereas most diamonds are formed at 150 to 200 kilometres depth.

In 2014, researchers including Pearson found a diamond containing ringwoodite, the planet's fifth-most abundant mineral, which showed there is a large amount of water in the mantle, chemically bound to silicate rocks. The diamonds were found in mines in China, Zaire, South Africa, and Sierra Leone and were exposed to X-ray studies at the particle accelerator found at the Argonne National Lab, in IL, the USA. This new form of ice, and ice as a whole, is unique in that when pressure increases, the bonds organize themselves in different arrangements rather than squishing together - explains Oliver Tschauner, a professor of geoscience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a lead author of the study.

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