The Crazy Way Our Planet Slurps Down Its Seafloor And Spits Out Diamonds In Exchange

Diamonds are as mysterious as they are beautiful, but a new analyse hopes to clear up any loitering mysteries about how these precious pearls are structured deep within our planet. Publishing their work in Science Advances, researchers was of the view that diamonds may be the product of complex processes appearing 200 kilometers( 124 miles) below the seafloor and have simulated these processes in their lab to prove it.

The theory holds that when parts of the slabs of seafloor( or oceanic layers) rapidly slip under the continental plate- a process called subduction- sediment on the seafloor removes hundreds of kilometers into the Earth’s layer, where high temperature and intense pressing at 40,000 hours that of atmospheric pressure eventually compound the minerals into small crystals. These then melt in the ancient mantle at temperatures of more than 800 degC( 1,500 degF ).

These small carbon-fixed stones mix with a volcanic magma called kimberlite and spout back onto the Earth’s surface as diamonds. Fluids captured inside of diamonds have high concentrations of saline thought to come from deep subduction regions, which suggests that this process may very well have been occurring for billions of years.

“There was a theory that the salts trapped inside diamonds came from marine seawater, but couldn’t be tested, ” said cause author Michael Forster in a statement. “Our research showed that they came from marine sediment.”

Sounds pretty magical, doesn’t it?

To placed their assumption to the test, the scientists recreated these extreme conditions in the lab where they plunked marine sediment in a vessel with a common rock called peridotite. Here, they simulated the responses between the two by cranking up the pressure and heat and passing them time to react with one another.

“We demonstrated that the processes that lead to diamond growth are driven by the recycling of oceanic sediments in subduction zones, ” said Forster. “The commodities of our ventures also resulted in the formation of minerals that are necessary ingredients for the formation of kimberlite magmas, which freight diamonds to the Earth’s surface.”

But these aren’t the shiny diamonds are available on your grandmother’s engagement hoop. Diamonds formed through this process are likely those known as cloudy, least desirable fibrous diamonds which have applications in technology and engineering.

Backscattered electron images of experimental costs establishing different stages in the experimental process. Science Advances

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