We just found a tiny diamond that formed 660 kilometers deep. And this is not the most surprising

News hardware We just found a tiny diamond that formed 660 kilometers deep. And this is not the most surprising

The Earth hasn’t finished surprising us yet. Every day, scientists and researchers discover new species or unknown materials. So, when man discovers a diamond 660 kilometers deep, many questions come to mind.

It’s a hard thing to admit because we’ve been digging holes in it for as long as the world has existed (or nearly so), and yet we don’t know half of the things we need to know about the deep geology of this famous planet we call Earth. So much so that a tiny diamond found in a mine in Botswana can turn everything we thought we knew about the Earth’s mantle upside down.

Jewelery waste, treasure of science?

Here it is not the whole diamond that interests us, but the defects present within the mineral. Why some may not know but these flaws – discarded in jewelry because they “confuse” the piece – actually deliver a lot of information if you know how to interpret it.

Photo credit: Nathan D. Renfro and Tingting Gu

In this case (see photo above), this little inclusion (= indicates a material trapped inside a mineral) in the shape of a fish eye or mouth it is more than just a flaw. Indeed, this suggests that our planet’s mantle contains an amount of water equivalent to six times that of all the oceans on Earth.

A discovery that never ceases to amaze specialists

According to Suzette Timmerman, a mantle geochemist and postdoctoral researcher, this discovery is very surprising and questions many things. She explains during an interview for American scientist : “It is incredibly rare to find a diamond at this depth, and having inclusions is even more so”. For the uninitiated, diamonds are generally formed between 150 and 200 km in depth – against 660 km of this – and that is why this discovery is fascinating. But that’s not all, since as we have explained to you, the most surprising is actually the inclusion of ringwoodite.

Photo credit: Tingting Gu

We just found a tiny diamond that formed 660 kilometers deep.  And this is not the most surprising

Indeed, ringwoodite is only produced at extremely high pressures (in much lower areas than where diamonds are produced). To the extent that normally scientists can only study ringwoodite from meteorites. This whole discovery is therefore all the more strange and interesting.

A diamond that raises many questions

The question you are probably asking yourself after reading these few lines is certainly the following: what does all this mean in concrete terms? The most complete way to understand this phenomenon is to assume that, as we have said, the Earth’s mantle contains water. Since 2014, scientists have been trying to figure out whether the few samples of terrestrial ringwoodite and associated humidity were a local phenomenon or something that could spread across the planet. This diamond, found very distant from the rest of the other specimens, seems to confirm the second hypothesis in this sense. : there is a lot of water in the earth’s mantle. Much water.

This discovery is all the more important because it is equal if this water is blocked in the geological structure (i.e. it is not a huge subterranean ocean), plays an essential role in the water cycle, here, on the surface, but also at the level of plate tectonics, volcanic activity and many other things that we cannot even imagine yet.

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