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Found: A Quadrillion Tons of Diamonds!

By Delaney Beem | Jul 26, 2018

Here’s what researchers discovered lurking deep in the earth.


Researchers have hypothesized that a 1000 times more diamonds are below earth’s surface than previously thought. Where are these diamonds? How did they find them? and what does this mean for the industry? 

While scientists know a great deal about what lies beneath the surface of our planet, there are still many questions left to be answered. Using seismic data scientists are trying to see what the deepest parts of the earth may be like.  Researchers have found underground rock formations resembling upside down mountains, called cratons, resting at the center of the earth’s tectonic plates. These cratons can be as long as 200 miles but, due to their depth, the compositional structure of cratons were unknown until recently.

Sound waves travel through different types of rocks at different speeds. By comparing the velocities of these waves to velocities for other rocks and minerals depending on temperature, density, make-up, etc. researchers were able to hypothesize the composition of these cratons. 

Image: Dr. Andrew A. Snelling

At the base of the cratons researchers saw that sound waves traveled much faster. When comparing this velocity to that of other materials they decided the cratons' roots must be composed from 1-2% of diamonds. Diamonds are formed in incredibly hot, high pressure environments and come to the surface when volcanic activity ejects them. The base of these cratons provides the perfect environment for diamond creation, and many eruptions which bring diamonds to the surface take place at the edges of the cratons. 

Painting: Frederic Remington1-2% of a cratonic root may not seem like a lot but when totaling the volume of all the roots distributed throughout the Earth this becomes 10-16 tons of diamonds. While this may show that diamonds are less rare than previously thought in the earth's center it won’t change the value of diamonds since these troves are far too deep for humans to reach.The deepest diamond mine in the world, the Mir Mine in Eastern Siberia, is only 1722 ft. deep; nowhere near the base of the 200-mile-long craton structures.  Even the Kola Super-Deep Borehole, the deepest man made hole, is only 7.619 miles deep and at 9 inches wide mining from this hole would be near impossible.

The bottom line? All that's left to do with this information is to wait for volcanic activity to bring these diamonds to the surface where they can be exquisitely cut by Crafted by Infinity.

 


Delaney Beem

Delaney Beem

Delaney grew up in Idaho's Treasure Valley where she developed passion for art, business, social issues and environmental sustainability. The daughter of rare coin and jewelry professionals, she has been surrounded by collectibles, heirloom pieces and fashion jewelry her entire life. Currently a student attending the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, Delaney is delighted to bring her experience and opinions to the High Performance Diamonds blog.


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