Diamonds have always had the power to capture humans’ imagination, being the subject of desire of many. A recent research focuses on the precious stones that are hidden deep under the surface of our planet. It looks like up to a quadrillion tons of diamonds could be locked more than 150 km under our feet.
Where are they hiding?
According to a study published in the Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems journal, diamonds are very common in a stable part of continental lithosphere called cratons. In this layer of rock, which lies between 150 and 240 km below the Earth’s surface, we could possibly find even a quadrillion tons of these majestic gems. In order to better understand how deep underneath these diamonds can be found, let’s remember that the deepest mine in the world reaches just 4 km under the Earth’s surface.
The technology behind this discovery
In the present moment, we do not have the necessary technology to reach that deep into the Earth. That’s why the scientists used sound waves to study the part of lithosphere where the presence of diamonds was suspected. By looking at the speed of movement of these waves, the researchers are able to name the type of rock that the waves are going through.
Thanks to this method, the scientists managed to notice an unusual behavior of the sound waves while passing through the cratons – they sped up more than it was expected.
Diamonds are more common than we think
Trying to find out why this happened, the researchers built a 3D model and tested different types of minerals by sending virtual sound waves through these virtual rocks. The only combination that could explain the faster movement of waves is between one and two percent of diamonds, together with eclogite and peridotite.
This does not come as a surprise, since the universe is simply full of diamonds. Some studies even suggest that they may be falling from the sky on Neptune.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.