Scientists reveal how world’s biggest diamonds form
Scientists have claimed to figure out how the world’s biggest and most-valuable diamonds formed, media reported. In a study published this week in the US journal Science, the scientists said large gem-quality diamonds, like the world-famous Cullinan or Lesotho Promise, may be born in metallic liquid deep inside the Earth’s mantle, Xinhua news agency reported.
The research team, led by Evan Smith of the Gemological Institute of America, reached the conclusion after examining so-called “offcuts” of massive diamonds, which are the pieces left over after the gem’s facets are cut for maximum sparkle.
They found tiny metallic grains trapped inside in more than 30 exceptionally large stones, which are made up of a mixture of metallic iron and nickel, along with carbon, sulfur, methane, and hydrogen.
These inclusions led the researchers to conclude that these diamonds formed, like all diamonds, in the Earth’s mantle, but they did so under conditions in which they were saturated by liquid metal.
Most diamonds formed at depths of 150 to 200 km under the continents and shoot to the surface in volcanic eruptions.
“Pure carbon crystallised in this mix of molten metallic liquid in Earth’s deep mantle to form diamonds,” the team explained in a statement.
“Small droplets of this metallic liquid were occasionally trapped within the diamonds as they grew,” offering useful clues that may help “advance our understanding of Earth’s deep mantle, hidden beneath tectonic plates and largely inaccessible for scientific observation,” the statement added.