Earth recycles ocean floor into salty diamonds | Eurasia Diary -

16 September, Monday

Earth recycles ocean floor into salty diamonds

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The most wonderful quality about diamonds is that they are one of the only types of physical matter on this earth that do not wear and tear. As a result, you can not tell the difference between a diamond worn 300 years ago from a diamond freshly mined.

Now, a new study reveals that most of the diamonds are made of recycled seabed cooked deep in the Earth. It suggests many diamonds begin life as sediment on the bottom of the ocean, before being swallowed up by the Earth’s mantle and forged into our favorite shiny stones, Tech Explorist reports.

In this study, scientists shed light on the lifecycle of the diamonds. Scientists studied the salt trapped in many diamonds and found that the stones are formed from ancient seabeds that became buried deep beneath the Earth’s crust.

In experiments recreating the extreme pressures and temperatures found 200 kilometres underground, Dr. Michael Förster, Professor Stephen Foley, Dr. Olivier Alard, and colleagues at Goethe Universität and Johannes Gutenberg Universität in Germany, have demonstrated that seawater in sediment from the bottom of the ocean reacts in the right way to produce the balance of salts found in diamond.

"Our research showed that they came from marine sediment. We knew that some sort of salty fluid must be around while the diamonds are growing, and now we have confirmed that marine sediment fits the bill," Lead author Michael said.

Scientists tested the idea by placing samples of marine sediment into a chamber that would simulate the high pressure and high temperature deep within the Earth. Samples of peridotite, the most common type of rock in the mantle, was also added before the mix was cooked.


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


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