Curtin University researchers studying rocks rich in pink diamonds recently made a major discovery. They identified an ingredient that explains the rarity of these gems.
Today, experts estimate that 90% of the existing pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine in northwest Australia. However, no one knew why these famous gemstones were so abundant in this region of the world. Especially since the vast majority of diamond mines are in continental countries such as Russia or South Africa. Now scientists believe they have solved the mystery surrounding this rarity. This is what researchers from Australia’s Curtin University point out in a study published in the journal Nature Communications Pink diamonds are believed to have been formed nearly 1.3 billion years ago when Earth’s first supercontinent broke apart.
A “key ingredient” in the rarity of pink diamonds
As Hugo Olierook, lead author of the study, explains in an interview with AFP, the researchers were already aware of two ingredients that enable the formation of a pink diamond. The first is carbon, which lies more than 150 km deep. If it is closer to the earth’s surface, it “won’t look very pretty on a wedding ring,” assures Hugo Olierook. The second ingredient that allows the formation of a diamond is none other than very high pressure. “If you press just a little bit, it turns pink. But a little more and it will turn brown,” the geologist continues. But that’s not all ! For such gemstones to be created, there must be a third ingredient that was recently discovered: A “stretch” of continental masses when continents break up. This natural phenomenon would have created “fractures” in the Earth’s crust, allowing diamond-bearing magma to rise to the surface.
Researchers looking for a new mine
With this discovery, scientists hope to find a new mine that is as productive as Argyle. However, experts do not expect it to be found soon. “Most diamond deposits were discovered in the middle of ancient continents“Because the volcanoes that host them tend to be more exposed on the surface, which allowed researchers to find them,” explains Hugo Olierook. And concludes: “Argyle lies at the junction of two ancient continents ; However, these intersections are often covered with sand and soil.”
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