“Diamonds are a woman’s best friend.”
Unlike this saying, looks like diamonds are everyone’s best friend. We all love diamonds, don’t we? With their classy shine and elegant design, diamonds captivate everyone! However, not many of us are aware of their whereabouts. Where do these diamonds come from, and how are they really extracted?
Recent studies have discovered that these diamonds are actually formed by the recycling the ancient ocean floors that are buried beneath the Earth’s surface. According to the research study’s lead author, Michael Forster, there is a theory that the salts trapped inside diamonds come from marine seawater. The research helped discover that these salts came from marine sediment.
Process behind the research
Image Source: Cathedrals.info
The process entails that a large slab of the ocean floor be submerged 200 kilometres underground, leading to a method called subduction. During subduction, the ocean floor sediments are compressed to more than four gigapascals together. This happens mainly due to the tectonic plates that slide beneath each other. The point of their contact is where the marine sediments start melting at a temperature of 800 degrees celsius.
After coming to a conclusion on the entire process, the researchers tried to put it into reality. The geoscientists at Australia’s Macquarie University conducted two different kinds of melting experiments. One of these experiments included using a two-layer arrangement just like the original process idea stated above. The marine sediments were brought together with a coarse-grained, dense igneous rock and were then subjected to extremely high temperature and pressure inside a vessel.
Once the pressure and temperature reached the conditions similar in the mantle, the materials reacted with each other. After the completion of the reaction, there was an equal balance of potassium and sodium traces spotted within the diamond. These traces were similar to the ones found in fibrous diamonds. Apart from this, the process also led to the subtle development of kimberlite magma that helps transport diamonds to the surface of the Earth.
The origin and existence of the exotic diamond fluid composition are also made clear with this research. There is also a theory that diamonds that grow in the Earth’s mantle come trapped with inclusions of fluids. These fluids can be extremely saline in composition, a fact that is also proved by this research. It also further proves that the fluids that emerge deep down from the subduction zones have the power to generate kimberlite magmas.
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