More Than A Quadrillion Tons Of Diamonds Lay Within The Earth

19 July, 2018, 20:37 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Diamonds are less rare than you probably thought.   REUTERS  Phil Noble

Earth's interior is dark, but filled with diamonds.

Diamonds are made of pure carbon and formed under huge heat and pressure over many millions of years. The deepest parts are referred to as "roots" by geologists. At about 120 to 150 km below the surface, it is out of reach of even the best drills available right now.

"This shows that diamond is not perhaps this exotic mineral, but on the [geological] scale of things, it's relatively common", said Ulrich Faul, a scientist in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, in a prepared statement. The study published this week suggests that deep rock layers known as cratons which lie below the centers of most continental plates may be made up of around 2 % diamond crystals. The focus of the research was on cratonic roots, which can stretch as deep as 200 miles through the Earth's crust and into the mantle.

Faul and his colleagues came to their conclusion after puzzling over an anomaly in seismic data.

But, when studying the Earth's interior, the scientists faced something very puzzling.

The experts calculated how fast sound waves would travel through each virtual rock, and found only one type of rock that would produce the speeds measured by seismologists.

This could easily explain the higher sound velocities that were detected.

Scientists use sound waves to paint a picture of the insides of the plant.

However, the discrepancy was too much and the coolness of the rock did not adequately account for the significant uptake in wave speed.

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The news comes from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, who have uncovered that Earth's ancient mantle rocks may be made out of diamond.

'Then we have to say, "There is a problem". That's how this project started'.

Sound waves travel at different speeds depending on the composition, temperature, and density of the rocks and minerals they travel through, giving scientists a method to estimate what types of rocks are below the Earth's surface by comparing the velocities of these sound waves, according to MIT. Since these vibrations can change, which vary depending on the structure, temperature and density of different rocks, researchers can use these recordings to create an image of the earth's accessible interior.They found that underground vibes produced from natural processes such as quake and tsunami rapidly grow during cratonic roots; Speedup was relatively higher than the fact that cratons are cooler and less dense than the surrounding structures, both of which are the conditions that accelerate the waves.

"Diamond in many ways is special".

The diamonds are located in underground rock formations called cratons.

Cratons are naturally less dense than the surrounding rock, and the presence of the diamond does not change that.

"It's circumstantial evidence, but we've pieced it all together".

"This is how they preserve the oldest rocks". Down there, diamonds may not be so rare after all - it's just hard for them to make it to the surface and onto the rings and earrings of human beings. Diamond, along with magma from deep in the Earth, can spew out through kimberlite pipes, onto the surface of the Earth.

They then funnel hydrogen and methane gas heat to 3,000°C (5,400°F) into the chamber to create a highly charged gas known as plasma.

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