The Mystery of Pink Diamonds Unraveled: Scientists Discover the Missing Ingredient
Unraveling the Enigma of Pink Diamonds
Exquisitely rare and exorbitantly priced, pink diamonds have long been a mystery to scientists and gem-enthusiasts alike. These gemstones, known for their unique curved crystal structure and chemical purity, account for over 90% of pink diamonds discovered worldwide and were primarily found in the now-closed Argyle mine in northwest Australia.
Origins of the Pink Diamond
Scientists recently claimed to have discovered the “missing ingredient” behind these coveted pink diamonds. By using lasers to analyze minerals and rocks from the Argyle deposit, researchers found that the site, rich in pink diamonds, was formed during the breakup of an ancient supercontinent, Nuna, about 1.3 billion years ago. This is relatively recent compared to most diamond deposits worldwide, which date back over 2.5 billion years.
An Ancient Supercontinent’s Role
The disintegration of the supercontinent, Nuna, propelled these pink diamonds to the Earth’s surface. This revelation corrects a previously held misconception, suggesting that the Argyle site is 1.3 billion years old, a hundred million years older than previously estimated. The splitting of Nuna caused the area where Argyle is located to stretch, creating gaps in the Earth’s crust through which magma shot towards the surface, carrying along pink diamonds.
Turning Diamonds Pink
Approximately 1.8 billion years ago, the northern and western continents collided, impacting the Argyle deposits located at the juncture. This collision caused the diamonds to turn pink. The researchers propose that the stretching of Nuna as it split could be a crucial component of the process that brought pink diamonds to the surface.
A New Understanding of Diamond Formation
Researchers suggest that the formation of diamonds during the breakup of continents could be a common, yet under-recognized, phenomenon. If three ingredients are present – deep carbon, continental collision, and subsequent stretching – they believe it could lead to the discovery of the “next Argyle”.
Guiding Future Exploration
This sequence of events, according to the study, suggests that the junctions of ancient continents may play a significant role in finding pink diamonds. These findings could provide crucial guidance in exploring other diamond deposits.
The Recipe for Pink Diamonds
The creation of a pink diamond requires three ingredients. Firstly, carbon must be present deep within the Earth’s crust. Secondly, just the right amount of pressure is needed to color diamonds that would otherwise be transparent. Finally, a volcanic event is necessary to expel the diamonds to the Earth’s surface.
The unraveling of this mystery not only sheds light on the formation process of pink diamonds but also provides clues about where to look for more. While the search for these precious gems may not be easy, the discovery of the missing ingredient could potentially guide future efforts to uncover more of these rare stones.
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