Diamonds are not so rare after all, as scientists have found a massive cache of the valuable stone deep inside the Earth through the use of sound waves.
The discovery, however, will likely not start a diamond rush, as the precious minerals are located far deeper than any drilling expedition has ever reached.
Sound Waves Discover Diamonds Deep In The Earth
The team of researchers, representing institutions such as MIT, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley, discovered that they may be over a quadrillion tons of diamonds hidden deep inside the Earth.
The scientists started the study by investigating a seismic anomaly. Agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey keep global records of seismic data, which are sound waves traveling through the Earth. The researchers saw that in some parts of the crust named cratons, the sound waves went faster than expected.
Cratons are stable parts in the crust and mantle of the Earth that are usually less dense and colder than the parts surrounding them. When the seismic data showed that sound waves passed through them faster than expected, the researchers started investigating the material that caused the anomaly.
The scientists created virtual rock models to determine the material that allowed the sound waves to pass quickly through cratons. Only one virtual rock matched, containing peridotite, small amounts of eclogite from the oceanic crust, and 1 percent to 2 percent of diamond.
Diamonds Not Rare In Earth
Where are diamonds found? The locations may be rare on the Earth's surface, but looking at the entire geological picture of the planet, diamonds are not as rare. With the discovery, the scientists estimated that there are 1,000 times more diamonds on Earth than previously known.
Diamonds in cratons, according to MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences research scientist Ulrich Faul, makes sense. Diamonds are formed in the high-pressure and high-temperature environment in deep Earth and are propagated to the surface by volcanic eruptions ever few tens of millions of years. However, while deep beneath the Earth, they help cratons stay stable and prevent them from sinking.
The diamonds, however, are estimated to be about 90 miles to 150 miles below the ground, which is much farther than any mining expedition ever attempted. As current diamond resources are depleted, maybe it is time for lab-made diamonds to shine?