A recent study conducted by a group of international researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard and other institutions revealed that the interior of our Earth is brimming with a “quadrillion tons” of diamonds. According to the study, these diamonds are one thousand times more in number in comparison to what was estimated earlier.
However, these diamonds cannot be reached. They are situated near about ninety to one hundred fifty miles (one hundred forty-five to two hundred forty kilometers) under the Earth’s surface within the cratons’ roots. Cratons are huge segments of rock that lie underneath the tectonic plates. The cratons have barely had any movement since their origin.
Research scientist Ulrich Faul at MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, said in a statement, “This shows that diamond is not perhaps this exotic mineral, but on the [geological] scale of things, it’s relatively common.” Further, Faul added, “We can’t get at them, but still, there is much more diamond there than we have ever thought before.”
To arrive at the conclusion, the researchers analyzed seismic waves underneath the Earth. As these vibrations tend to alter on the basis of temperature, density, and composition of the different rocks hit by it, the researchers could make use of these recording for constructing a picture of the inaccessible interior of our planet.
Using seismic activity records, the researchers developed a 3D model depicting the speed of the seismic waves, which moved via the major cratons of the Erath. They then developed “virtual rocks” by different combinations of various minerals and estimated as to how fast these seismic waves could move via such rock compositions.
The researchers discovered that the most appropriate reason for those velocities actually witnessed underneath versus those velocities presumed in the “virtual rock” models could be that one to two percentage of the cratons’ roots was composed of diamonds whereas rest of it was composed of Peridotite and a small amount of Eclogite rocks.
The study’s lead author, Joshua Garber at University of California, Santa Barbara said in a statement that when the “waves pass through the Earth, diamonds will transmit them faster than other rocks or minerals that are less stiff.”