Scientists just found £150,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of diamonds on Earth

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 17, 2018

Sound waves are formed by seismic activity from inside the depths of our planet, with tectonic plate movement and other phenomena causing deep rumblings.

Using sound waves, scientists uncovered a cache of diamonds distributed deep below the Earth's surface, and it amounts to over a quadrillion tons of the precious mineral. We can't get at them, yet at the same time, there is significantly more diamonds there than we have ever thought previously. "One of its special properties is that the sound velocity in diamond is more than twice as fast as in the dominant mineral in upper mantle rocks, olivine".

The deep parts of cratons, known as the roots, are also near where diamonds form in the first place, in the blazing heat and crushing pressures found deep inside the planet.

Sound waves travel at different speeds depending on the composition, temperature, and density of the rocks and minerals they travel through, giving scientists a method to estimate what types of rocks are below the Earth's surface by comparing the velocities of these sound waves, according to MIT.

'Then we have to say, "There is a problem".

To solve the mystery and understand just why the sound waves behaved so differently, the team created a three-dimensional model showing how seismic waves travelled through the Earth's major cratons.

To estimate the total mass of diamonds in the Earth, the researchers assumed cratonic roots contained 1-2% diamond and combined that with the total volume of cratonic roots distributed throughout the Earth.

"Diamond in many ways is special", Faul says. The speedup was greater than would be expected from the fact that cratons tend to be colder and less dense than surrounding structures.

"They are like pieces of wood, floating on water", Faul says.

'Cratons are a tiny bit less dense than their surroundings, so they don't get subducted back into the Earth but stay floating on the surface.

The scientists reckon there's a quadrillion tonnes of diamond buried in the "cratonic roots" in continents. This is how they preserve the oldest rocks.

The diamonds, however, are impossible to mine - they're 90 to 150 miles below the Earth's surface, far deeper than any drills are capable of reaching. So we found that you just need 1% to 2% diamond for cratons to be stable and not sink.

For the most part, kimberlite pipes have been found at the edges of cratonic roots, such as in certain parts of Canada, Siberia, Australia, and South Africa.

"It's circumstantial evidence, but we've pieced it all together", Faul added. "We went through all the different possibilities, from every angle, and this is the only one that's left as a reasonable explanation". A meticulous researcher who's not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people's eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children.

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