Diamonds have always been thought to be the exquisite and precious stones that are formed deep within the Earth. Now, scientists from Johns Hopkins University have identified a new simple recipe to make the so-called "girl's best friend."
The discovery of the new method may deem microscopic diamonds more common than previously believed as the chemical reaction involved in its formation is just like a simple redox reaction.
Scientists have long thought that diamonds are only created via complicated redox reactions that entail fluid movement and either methane oxidation and carbon dioxide reaction. Such processes necessitate the diverse kinds of fluids to move through rocks and being exposed to environments with varied oxidation conditions. "It was always hard to explain why the redox reactions took place," said Dr. Dimitri A. Sverjensky, the corresponding author of the study.
In the new research, the authors found that water underground could create diamonds when its pH drops naturally or when it becomes more acidic during transportation from one rock to another,
"Diamond precipitation is driven by pH drop and not by changes in redox conditions," the authors wrote. Diamond formation is a direct result of the modifications in the chemistry of aqueous fluid related to the chemical changes of rock via hydrothermal and other fluids, involving silicate minerals under upper mantle states.
The new model formed by the researchers suggests that extremely high temperatures and pressures may subject water to form diamonds naturally via rock-to-rock movement.
Should these diamonds form, it would be taking place approximately 90-120 miles below the surface or 10 times deeper than any drilling projects ever recorded.
The theory made by the researchers signifies that diamonds, together with its solid and liquid components could be the natural and probably the most typical product of water chemical changes rather than redox reactions alone.
"We wish to emphasize that our proposed pH-change mechanism for diamond formation represents a mechanism in addition to potential changes in redox, temperature and pressure," the authors wrote.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
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