Science & Technology
Never-before-seen mineral found trapped inside diamond
By T.K. Randall
November 25, 2021 · 2 comments
Some minerals have never been seen on the Earth's surface. Image Credit: NASA
A diamond that originated deep beneath the planet's surface has been found to contain a new type of mineral.
The bowels of our planet hold many new types of minerals, including some that have long been thought to exist but that have never actually been seen directly due to the fact that they only form deep down in the high-temperature, high-pressure conditions of the Earth's mantle.
One such example is davemaoite - a type of high-pressure calcium silicate perovskite that has never been seen on the surface because it is incapable of forming beyond the planet's interior.
Now however, scientists have - for the first time - identified an actual piece of davemaoite trapped inside a diamond that formed 410 miles beneath the Earth before making its way to the surface in Botswana where it was collected and sent for scientific analysis.
To identify the tiny sample of davemaoite trapped inside, scientists used a technique known as synchrotron X-ray diffraction which focuses high-energy beams of X-rays on certain points.
The new mineral, which is thought to have played an important role in the Earth's mantle, has now been officially recognized by the International Mineralogical Association.
"The work [by the science team] inspires hope in the discovery of other difficult high-pressure phases in nature," said geophysicist Yingwei Fe.
"Such direct sampling of the inaccessible lower mantle would fill our knowledge gap in chemical composition of the entire mantle of our planet."
Source: Live Science
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