Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Rare and unseen the mineral was found inside of the diamond

Rare and unseen the mineral was found inside of the diamond Rare and unseen the mineral was found inside of the diamond
Melissa Porter | 11 March, 2018, 21:26

One of the most abundant minerals in the world - that had never before been seen on the Earth's surface - has finally been eyed by scientists, thanks to one of the world's most sought-after gems. He added that studying such diamonds would provide an insight into the oceanic crust and exactly what happens when a denser oceanic plate plunges into the Earth's mantle when opposed to continental plates. But as Michelle Starr of Science Alert reports, researchers have found a piece of CaSiO3 that managed to make it close to the surface of the Earth, encased in a tiny diamond.

"The only possible way of preserving this mineral at the Earth's surface is when it's trapped in an unyielding container like a diamond", he explained.

The finding has been published in the journal Nature.

"The diamond lattice doesn't relax much, so the volume of the inclusion remains nearly constant whether it's in the Earth's mantle or in your hand", said Oliver Tschauner, a professor of geoscience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Pearson said the calcium silicate perovskite they viewed probably grew at the same rate as the diamond and, as diamonds are the most incompressible of all natural minerals, it effectively created a protective barrier. The diamond originated roughly 700 kilometres below Earth's surface, whereas most diamonds are formed at 150 to 200 kilometres depth.

The researchers polished the diamond and conducted spectroscopic analysis to confirm that the mineral inside it is indeed the perovskite.

"Diamonds are really unique ways of seeing what's in the Earth", said Pearson.

One of the best known diamond researchers in the world, Pearson was also behind the major 2014 discovery of ringwoodite-Earth's fifth most abundant mineral-in a diamond that pointed to a vast reservoir of water bound to silicate rocks in Earth's mantle. The pressure was greater at this lower level, allowing the deep-Earth mineral to be trapped and held stably.

According to the researcher, diamonds are a completely unique way to see what's inside the Earth and how it is composed of. (Zetta is a unit prefix equal to a factor of 10, or a one followed by 21 zeros.) Scientists have long known that CaSiO3 was plentiful, particularly in "slabs of oceanic crust that have plunged into the planet's mantle at tectonic boundaries", Specktor of Live Science writes.

This research also saw Pearson team up with colleagues from the University of British Columbia who together lead a program-the Diamond Exploration Research and Training School, part of NSERC's Collaborative Research and Training Experience-to train the next generation of highly qualified diamond explorers.