Rare and unseen the mineral was found inside of the diamond
Rare and unseen the mineral was found inside of the diamond
12 March, 2018, 00:52
According to the researchers, CaSiO3 is the fourth most abundant mineral on Earth but only recently they were able to prove that it exists in a stable form, as it forms deep inside Earth's mantle. The precious stone has a specific mineral, called calcium silicate perovskite, trapped inside of it.
However, while we have plenty of CaSiO3 supply, it had never been seen by humans in its natural environment. Above about 400 miles beneath the Earth's surface, this elusive mineral becomes unstable.
A super-deep diamond from the Cullinan Mine, similar to the one that was found trapping calcium silicate perovskite. The mine is located on a well known diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe in the Gauteng Province of South Africa.
Cullinan Mine is known as the source of some of the world's largest diamonds. Such confirmation, possible thanks to the fact that the mineral was trapped in an unyielding container, provided new insights into the processes that govern the planet's interior. This mineral is one of those that makes the Earth's mantle. However, this remained only a theory up until now.
The rare Earth mineral embedded in the diamond measures only 0.031 millimeters across. While most diamonds are formed at a depth of about 150 to 200 km, this one possibly formed at a depth of at least 700 km, notes the report. The diamond from which the compound was extracted came from a South African mine at a depth of just a kilometer.
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The pressure at that depth is approximately 240,000 times that of atmospheric pressure at sea level. When this extreme force formed the diamond, the CaSiO3was trapped inside.
Prevented from crystallizing under high pressure, the water froze as geological activity eventually moved the diamonds to the surface.
"Diamonds are really unique ways of seeing what's in the Earth", said Pearson.
Diamond provides the "fundamental proof" for a long time formulated the idea that slabs of oceanic crust that sink deep into the Ground, go into the lower mantle, researchers say.
"This gives us a picture of how oceanic plates, plate tectonics and how carbon is cycled into the Earth", he said. X-ray and spectroscopy tests confirmed that the diamond did contain calcium silicate perovskite - quite possibly the first intact sample ever seen.
This research also saw Pearson team up with colleagues from the University of British Columbia who together lead a program - the Diamond Exploration Research and Training School, part of NSERC's Collaborative Research and Training Experience - to train the next generation of highly qualified diamond explorers.
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