A minuscule amount of diamonds compared to the underground stash
22 July, 2018, 06:56
These normally happening valuable minerals are situated far more profound than any penetrating campaign has ever come to, around 90 to 150 miles (145 to 240 kilometers) beneath the surface of our planet.
The rocks at these deep levels are called cratonic roots - "the oldest and most immovable sections of rock that lie beneath the center of most continental tectonic plates", according to MIT News. The Mir Diamond Mine in Russian Federation, for instance, is the world's second-largest human-made hole and only goes about half a km deep.
"Diamonds are a ideal match because they're a little bit more dense, but we don't need a lot of them", said Ulrich Faul, a researcher in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and a senior participant in the study.
"We can't get at them, but still, there is much more diamond there than we have ever thought before".
Deep in the earth are cratons, masses of rock shaped like upside-down mountains. Diamonds fit the bill, and to match the velocity of the sound traveling through the roots, the scientists estimated that the roots must be made of 1 to 2% diamond (in addition to peridotite and eclogite).
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) team made the finding using seismic data or more simply put - sound waves.
An worldwide team of researchers approximates that about one to two percent of the Earth's Cratonic roots are composed of diamonds. A separate experiment conducted before the discovery showed that sound wave speeds change depending on the composition, temperature and density of the rocks and minerals they're travelling through.
Researchers created virtual rock models to test what material would allow sound waves to travel that quickly through the cratonic roots. That's at least 1,000 times more diamonds than scientists had expected.
New research by a team from MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley has found that there is a lot more diamond in the planet than once believed.
The study also included researchers from various national and worldwide institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Science and Technology of China, among others.
"One of its unique properties is, the sound speed in precious stone is more than twice as quick as in the prevailing mineral in upper mantle rocks, olivine".
It may be hundreds of years until we develop technology capable of mining the diamonds, but it's nice to know there's a jackpot hidden in the earth.
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