Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Missing Ingredient in Diamond Formation Finally Found By Scientists

Jun 03, 2019 11:18 AM EDT

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Diamonds are not only a girl's best friend but everybody else's as well; it is the most sought after stones on Earth yet we know very little about the complex process that goes into their creation in nature. This is mainly due to the fact that they are formed underground and are only pushed towards the surface where we can reach them by a volcanic eruption. But recently, scientists have discovered a very important component in the formation of most natural diamonds: sediment from the bottom of the sea.

"There was a theory that the salts trapped inside diamonds came from marine seawater, but couldn't be tested," Dr Michael Förster, the study's lead author and a geoscientist at Australia's Macquarie University, told Science Daily. "Our research showed that they came from marine sediment."Most diamonds are synthetically made with the use of carbon which results in what is known as gem diamonds. The naturally occurring ones are not as glamorous-looking. They also show traces of tiny fluid inclusions containing high levels of potassium salts relative to sodium salts and this has what befuddled scientists- until now.

Seabed sediments are located deep in the Earth, about 62- 124 miles below the surface. Humans have only dug as deep as 7.6 miles into the Earth using heavy machinery since the deeper it becomes, the hotter the temperature is.The study was published recently in the journal Science Advances detailing how naturally occurring diamonds come to exist. The researchers explained that in subduction zones, areas where tectonic plates dive beneath each other at high speeds, sediments from the sea floor mix together with rocks at great temperatures. This, in turn, releases water that that's rich in dissolved carbon and other organic materials from the seabed. The resulting fluid reacts with surrounding rocks resulting in a carbon-rich, salty solution from which diamonds slowly crystallize.

To replicate the process, the researchers used highly-pressurized diamond-making experiments to replicate the natural process and included oceanic sediment to test their theory and once the experiment was complete upon examination they found out that it has a high ratio of potassium to sodium salt exactly similar to that of natural fibrous diamonds.

Albeit doubts from the some in the scientific community, this study has given scientists more information as to the natural formation of diamonds underneath the Earth, and although it may not hold all the answers to all the mysteries and questions surrounding our precious diamonds, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

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