They discover a never-before-seen mineral within diamonds mined from the depths of the earth
November 15, 2021 05:15 GMT
Scientists theorized for years about the existence of this mineral, but so far no specimen has been found, because it decomposes into other minerals when it rises towards the Earth’s surface and the pressure decreases.
An international team of scientists published November 11 in the journal Science a study in which they reveal their discovery inside the diamond a Metal never seen before.
named Davimaweta, this mineral is the first example of a perovskite stone, which forms from calcium silicate under the high pressures and high temperatures of the Earth’s mantle. Researchers They assumed For years the existence of davemaoite, which would be an abundant and geochemically important mineral deep in our planet. However, so far No specimen was ever foundThe davemaoite also decomposes into other minerals as it rises to the surface and the pressure decreases.
Study authors analyzed diamonds mined in Botswana that formed in the mantle, around 660 km Under the earth’s crust, a sample of intact davemaoite was found trapped inside, which led to the International Mineralogical Association confirming the davemaoite as a new metal.
“The discovery of the davemaoite was a surprise,” he said. Live Science Oliver Chuner, lead author of the study and a mineralogist at the University of Nevada (USA).
Tschauner explained that to find the davemaoite sample, he and his colleagues used a technique known as synchrotron X-ray diffraction, which focuses a high-energy X-ray beam at specific points within the diamond with microscopic resolution. By measuring the angle and intensity of the returning light, it is possible to decipher what is inside. The davemaoite sample was measured around a few micrometers (millionths of a meter), so according to Tschauner, other, less powerful sampling techniques wouldn’t have detected it.
The scientific community hypothesizes that davemaoite may contain trace elements such as uranium and thorium, which release heat through radioactive decay. Tschauner pointed out that because of this mineral property It can contribute to the generation of a large amount of heat in the earth’s mantle.
“Tschauner’s work inspires hope for discovering other challenging high-pressure phases in nature”, pointed out Yingwe Fei, a geophysicist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., who concluded that “such direct samples from the inaccessible lower mantle That would fill our knowledge gap on the chemical composition of our entire planet’s mantle.”
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