A new study hints that diamonds may not be so rare after all, and that huge amounts of the precious stones can be found deep beneath Earth’s surface.
- Researchers believe diamond formation could occur in a much simpler process
- They suggest that by passing through different rocks, the gem could form due to a rise in acidity of the fluid and decrease of pH
- The process still requires high pressure and extreme temperatures
- These are found between 80-90 miles beneath the surface
Researchers at John Hopkin’s University have created chemical models that suggest diamonds are not quite so rare. However, they’re buried deep within the surface of our planet, to depths which we have not explored yet.
Until now, it was believed that the precious, clear gems formed only through a transfer between methane and carbon dioxide under a specific set of circumstances. This adds the ‘rare’ quality that is boasted and comes with high price. It’s the twist that adds more to the expensive stone, along with assuring its value.
However, researchers suggest that the process could be mimicked. It’s potentially much more common. By using the chemical model, they believed that diamonds could form by the simple interaction of water with various rocks. When the fluid passes through the solid materials, it naturally increases its acidity and decreases the pH of the water. Thus, leads to diamond formation.
According to lead author of the study and geologist, Dimitri Sverjensky, this means that there are many more environments where the rare diamonds would no longer be so rare. In spite of that, their research mentioned that the common process would still require some specific circumstances. Previous to others, it will still need extreme temperatures (1,650o to 2,000o Fahrenheit), and intense pressures.
But there’s one place where these particular conditions are naturally met, and that’s deep within Earth’s mantle.
According to Sverjensky, “fluids are key link” between both the surface of the Earth and deep within its core. Their presence, along with the specific circumstances that aid diamond formation, is in abundance deep beneath the surface of our planet. However, that’s also why diamond marketers should not panic that their product is losing value.
Even though they stand in exceptional amounts, the diamond formations deep within the Earth are barely measured in microns, and are invisible to the naked eye. Their new process requires incredible circumstances that are found between 80 to 90 miles below the surface of the planet. Given that the maximum depths we have explored are between 8 to 9 miles, it’s rather certain that the diamond market is safe.
However, Sverjensky’s research aids other scientists in better understanding the dynamics deep within the Earth. It’s impossible to explore, and it’s currently the least understood portion of our planet. And yet, it breeds and enables life.
Image source: dalbydiamonds.com