Russian miners at the Alrosa’s Udachnaya diamond mine pulled out a strange red and green stone out of the ground; they knew by instinct that they have something extraordinary. The red and green stone looked different from the thousands of tons of earth and ore they process each day. The workers had just unearthed a 30 mm rock which contained 30,000 diamonds. It was a rock which had diamonds in a concentration which was 1m times higher than normal.
In spite of the rarity of the discovery, the company donated the rock to the Russian Academy of Sciences, as the diamonds are so small that they cannot be used as gems. The rock was found in Russia’s Udachnaya diamond mine.
The diamonds were tiny and did not have any commercial value but they were of immense importance academically.
Larry Taylor, a geologist at the University of Tennessee, according to Live Science said, “The exciting thing for me is there are 30,000 itty-bitty, perfect octahedrons, and not one big diamond. It’s like they formed instantaneously. The associations of minerals will tell us something about the genesis of this rock, which is a strange one indeed.”
According to scientists the diamonds are born in the space between Earth’s crust and the core or the mantle. Big pieces of diamond bearing mantle are pushed to the surface by violent volcanic eruptions. Most of the mantle rock is destroyed during this fiery ascent but leaves crystals glimmering on the surface. The rock from Udachnaya somehow survived the speedy ride.
Taylor in close association with scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences has been studying the Udachnaya diamonds. The scientists used industrial x-ray tomography scanner much akin to the medical CAT scanner to study the structure of the Diamond. The scientists also used electron beams to identify the chemicals trapped in the spaces between the lattices. The findings revealed that the diamonds were created by liquids from the subducted oceanic crust, made of a thick rock called peridotite.
The results of the study will be published in a special issue of Russian Geology and Geophysics in January 2015.