This Tiny Diamond Contains a Mineral That's Never Been Seen Before

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

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It appears that the diamond was formed 400 miles below the planet's surface.The discovery of the diamond, and the mineral found within it, allowed geologists to confirm some of their theories. The mantle is made of 3 layers and while the lower layer doesn't hold any water and the upper layer only holds a small amount of water, the medium layer or the transition zone hold huge amounts of water and minerals in a more soluble form than those found above the surface of the planet.

Researchers collected a variety of diamonds from mines in Africa, China, Zaire and Sierra Leone and passed X-rays through them.

The paper on the perovskite diamond appeared online Wednesday in the journal Nature, under the title "CaSiO3 perovskite in diamond indicates the recycling of oceanic crust into the lower mantle".

The diamond was discovered less than 0.6 miles below the Earth's surface, but the researchers note in the study that it was in fact a "super-deep" diamond. Surprisingly, Silicate perovskite is actually considered to be our planet's fourth most abundant mineral.

The co-author of the study and the professor in the University of Alberta's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Graham Pearson, said, "Nobody has ever managed to keep this mineral stable at the Earth's surface and the only possible way of preserving this mineral at the Earth's surface is when it is trapped in an unyielding container, just like a diamond". And the discoveries have surprised the science enthusiasts much like a recent sight of a mineral trapped within a diamond that is offering some significant evidences.

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The pressure that this particular diamond would have had to undergo before it formed could have been equivalent to about 240,000 atmospheres, he said.

Most of the diamonds here on Earth are usually born closer to the surface at around 150 to 200 kilometers deep. The intense and crushing pressure is believed to have formed the diamond, trapping the rare Earth mineral inside it in the process.

"Diamonds are really unique ways of seeing what's in the Earth", said Pearson. According to Brandon Specktor of Live Science, the piece of CaSiO3 was visible to the naked eye once the diamond was polished, but an worldwide team of researchers collaborated on analyzing the precious stone with X-ray and spectroscopy tests.

The diamond provides "fundamental proof" of the long-theorized idea that slabs of oceanic crust that sink deep within the Earth are recycled into the lower mantle, researchers said. He added that studying such diamonds would provide an insight into the oceanic crust and exactly what happens when a denser oceanic plate plunges into the Earth's mantle when opposed to continental plates.

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