30 000 tiny diamonds stuck in a rock – tempting much? Such a rock has been found in a mine in Russia. Scientists say that analysing it might unravel some of the mystery around the formation of diamonds.
A green and red rock stuffed with 30 000 diamonds has been found from a diamond mine in Russia. The perfect gift, perhaps? Well, too bad, because after having been taken from the Udachnaya diamond mine in Russia, the rock was donated to science. The diamonds are also too tiny to be used as gems anyway.
According to scientists, rocks with such a huge number of diamonds are not commonly found.
A geologist, Larry Taylor, attested to the surprising discovery by saying: “The exciting thing for me is there are 30,000 itty-bitty, perfect octahedrons, and not one big diamond. The concentration of diamonds in the rock is millions of times greater than that in typical diamond ore, which averages 1 to 6 carats per ton”.
The scientist Taylor and his colleagues work on Udachnaya diamonds.
“The astonishing amount of diamonds, and the rock’s unusual Christmas coloring, will provide important clues to Earth’s geologic history as well as the origin of these prized gemstones. The associations of minerals will tell us something about the genesis of this rock, which is a strange one indeed”, continued Taylor.
Diamonds have gained the interest of people worldwide, adorning women of all nationalities, and making men rich and richer. However, their origin remains much of a mystery. The reactions that lead to its production are not fully known. It is thought that they are made from inside the Earth’s surface, at the mantle, which is located between the crust and the core. They reach us through volcanic eruptions, as the Earth is made to spit out some of its contents. The mantle-rocks that make the journey from near the center of the Earth to its surface disintegrate while being pushed towards the Earth’s openings. This is yet another reason why the 30 000 diamond rock is special: It marks a rare instance whereby such a rock has come to us.
The researchers carried out a number of tests on the rock to decipher the mysteries wound around diamonds. They studied it using an industrial X-ray tomography scanner. X-ray images of diamonds show them to be black. The 30 000 diamonds were spotted in clusters forming a tight band. Each crystal was found to be 1 millimeter tall. They were all octahedral. Other crystals were also found in the rock, namely, red garnet, green olivine and pyroxene. The diamonds most probably formed after the three other substances.
The study revealed more about the pressurised carbon. Exotic materials were seen captured on the inside of the diamonds. These chemicals which were found in capsules called inclusions in the diamonds included carbonate, a common mineral in limestone and seashells, together with garnet.
The results of the study suggested that the diamonds were obtained from the crystallisation of fluids that came out from a certain part of the crust.
If you are an avid reader that feeds on scientific news, you might want to wait for the publishing of the results in a special issue of Russian Geology and Geophysics to be released next January 2015.