Researchers analyze diamond chunks to better understand deep Earth

Researchers analyze diamond chunks to better understand deep Earth

In a bid to better understand the extreme depths of Earth, a diamond geologist and colleagues at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) cracked open and analyzed tiny chunks and scraps leftover from some of the world’s biggest diamonds.

The researchers led by diamond geologist Evan Smith got the GIA to acquire eight fingernail-sized chunks of those big, expensive diamonds. The chunks were leftover from big diamonds when the rough diamonds were cut into glistening jewels.

Smith said diamonds are scientifically valuable as they come from deep parts of our planet that humans can not access. Thus, looking inside the diamonds can provide information about what Earth is containing deep under its surface.

Speaking on the topic, Smith said, “It was a total mystery. You really couldn't ask for a better vessel to store something in. Diamond is the ultimate Tupperware. One, they tell us that these large, exceptional-quality diamonds originate from extreme depths in the Earth … So, that in itself is pretty amazing.”

Smith and his colleagues discovered that several of the diamond leftovers contained bits of garnet with a nitrogen content, which indicated that they must have formed under a very high pressure. They also found iron and nickel, covered in unusually liquid methane.

The researchers reported their findings in the Dec. 15th issue of the widely-acclaimed journal Science.


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