A rare diamond has revealed the watery environment of the deep Earth

Investigation of a diamond emerging from the depths of the earth suggests that the environment in which it formed could be full of water.

BingMag.com A rare diamond has revealed the watery environment of the deep Earth

Investigation of a diamond emerging from the depths of the earth suggests that the environment in which it formed could be full of water.

In In the inaccessible depths of the earth, mysterious processes are busy grinding and turning materials, and from time to time the earth provides clues to the nature of these processes: small underground diamonds that contain masses of rare minerals and with the help of which information can be obtained. About the inner environment of the planet.

A diamond that was recently discovered in a diamond mine in Botswana has such characteristics. This piece is full of materials such as "Ringwoodite", "Ferropericlase", "Enstatite" and other minerals, indicating that it was formed 660 kilometers below the surface of the earth.

The existence of these materials also shows that the environment in which the diamond was formed, that is, the gap between the upper and lower mantle known as the 660 km discontinuity or "Transition Zone", is rich in water.

A team of researchers led by mineral physicist Tingting Gu from New York Institute of Gemology and Purdue University announced these results in an article in the journal Nature Geoscience: "The appearance of ringwoodite with phases Aqueous indicates a moist environment at this boundary."

Although most of the Earth's surface is covered by oceans, considering the distance of thousands of kilometers between the surface and the core of the planet, the oceans look like a shallow pit and the thickness They are only 11 kilometers even at their deepest point.

But the Earth's crust is a cracked and fragmented surface where the plates Its separate ketonicity that rubs together and slides under each other's edges. In these subduction zones, water penetrates deep into the earth and reaches the lower mantle.

With the passage of time and by volcanic activity, this water returns to the surface of the earth. This cycle of inflow and outflow is known as the deep water cycle, separate from the active water cycle at the planet's surface.

Knowing how this cycle works and how much water it contains is important to understanding the geological activities of our planet. . For example, the presence of water can affect the explosiveness of a volcanic eruption and play a role in seismic activity. Diamonds formed under the conditions of extreme heat and pressure deep in the earth are such signs. These precious stones are a kind of crystal cages that hold a lot of information about the depths of the earth.

BingMag.com A rare diamond has revealed the watery environment of the deep Earth

Some of the main constituents found in deep-earth diamonds, including enstatite, ringwoodite, coesite, and possibly perovskite
Credit: Gu et al., Nat. Geosci

Go and his colleagues carefully studied a diamond sample and found 12 mineral inclusions (matter trapped inside the mineral) and a cluster of milky inclusions. They examined these inclusions using micro-Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction to determine their nature. magnesium/iron oxide) and enstatite (another magnesium silicate with a different composition).

At high pressures in the transition zone, ringwoodite decomposes into ferropericlase and also another mineral called bregmanite. At lower pressures near the surface, however, bregmanite transforms into enstatite. The presence of these materials in the found diamond tells the story of a long journey and shows that this stone was formed deep in the earth before reaching the crust.

But this is not all of the findings. The identified ringwoodite had characteristics that indicate it is "hydrous" in nature, i.e. a mineral that forms in the presence of water. Meanwhile, other minerals in diamonds, such as brucite, are hydrous. These clues show that the environment in which the diamond formed was very wet.

Evidences of water in the transition zone were found before, but they were not enough to measure the amount of water there. . Was it just a small, localized reservoir of water, or was there a lot of water underground? In this way, the researcher Guo and his colleagues and his team refer more to the second possibility.

They wrote in their article: "Although the formation of upper mantle diamonds is often associated with the presence of fluids, ultra-deep diamonds with a set of lowered minerals Similarly, it has rarely been observed in association with hydrous minerals."

The report adds: "Although a local H2O enrichment was suggested for the mantle transition zone based on previous findings of ringwoodite, ringwoodite identified with Hydrous phases represent a hydrous peridotite environment at the border of the transition zone and indicate a transition zone with a higher amount of water. It is facing down and in the middle of the 660 km discontinuity."

Some previous researches have also shown that the Earth absorbs much more water than previously thought, and this new finding can finally answer this question. answer where these waters go.

Cover photo: A graphic design of a diamond in a hydrated environment
Credit: SciTechDaily

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