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Researchers Discover A Quadrillion Tons of Diamonds in Earth's Deep Crust

19 July 2018

The study also included researchers from various national and worldwide institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Science and Technology of China, among others. Scientists used sound waves to show that there's a cache of diamonds in the surface of Earth.

These incredibly old rocks are found beneath the heart of most continental plates and are known as "the oldest and most immovable sections of rock", notes MIT.

"We can't get at them, but still, there is much more diamond there than we have ever thought before", said MIT's Ulrich Faul, who recently co-authored a paper on this new discovery, published in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.

The diamonds were found by analysing seismic records - essentially sound waves travelling through the Earth triggered by ground-shaking forces.

Researchers can likewise utilize this seismic information to build a picture of what the Earth's inside might resemble. The deepest parts are referred to as "roots" by geologists.

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. Only one virtual rock matched, containing peridotite, small amounts of eclogite from the oceanic crust, and 1 percent to 2 percent of diamond.

The scientists concluded that there are massive diamonds deposits in the Earth's interior.

Scientists can also use this seismic data to construct an image of what the Earth's interior might look like. Next, they assembled virtual rocks, made from various combinations of minerals.

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

"Diamond in many ways is special", Faul said.

A postdoctoral student at UC Santa Barbara and lead author of the study, Joshua Garber said "When the waves pass through the earth, then diamonds will transmit them faster than other rocks or minerals, which are less rigid".

Cratons are naturally less dense than the surrounding rock, and the presence of the diamond does not change that.

'This is how they preserve the oldest rocks.

'The velocities that are measured are faster than what we think we can reproduce with reasonable assumptions about what is there, ' Mr Faul says.

"It's circumstantial evidence, but we've pieced it all together", Faul added. Whether you're willing to give up a quarter of your year's earnings on a diamond ring for your future spouse is ultimately up to you, though it seems you might not need to dig so deep after it was discovered that diamonds aren't quite as rare as we initially thought.

Researchers Discover A Quadrillion Tons of Diamonds in Earth's Deep Crust