A new mineral was discovered in a diamond 410 miles below the Earth

Scientists have discovered an unprecedented mineral in a diamond extracted deep below the Earth’s surface, report from LiveScience reveals.

Although predicted years ago, the scientific community believed they would never find a sample of elusive material. The mineral, called davemaoite by pioneering geophysicist Ho-Kwang (Dave) Mao, is the first and only example of high-pressure calcium silicate perovskite (CaSiO3) found on Earth.

The discovery prompted the International Mineralogical Association to officially confirm davemaoite as a new mineral.

An elusive mineral formed deep in the Earth

The mineral was found in a diamond found in Botswana, which formed in the mantle approximately 410 miles (600 km) below the earth’s surface. As a starting point, the deepest hole ever dug by human machines is the Ultra-deep drilling Kolawhich reaches a depth of 7.6 miles (12.2 km). Diamonds form deep below the earth’s surface before rising as a result of volcanic eruptions.

Although another form of CaSiO3, wollastonite, is abundant on Earth, the crystal structure of davemaoite can only form under conditions of incredibly high pressure and high temperature in the Earth’s mantle. Scientists predict that Davemaoite should also be abundant in the Earth’s mantle, although they have never discovered the mineral’s travel due to the fact that it breaks down into other minerals when it reaches the earth’s surface and pressure conditions decrease.

Advanced analysis reveals a hidden mineral

Davemaoite was discovered inside the Botswana diamond using advanced analysis procedures detailed in a new document published in the diary science. A team of scientists from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, uses a technique called synchrotron X-ray diffraction. It trains high-energy X-rays on the inside of the diamond, allowing scientists to decipher what’s inside by analyzing the angle and intensity of the reflected light. Davemaoite is thought to contain trace elements such as uranium and thorium, meaning it can generate a lot of heat in the mantle, the researchers said.

In 2019, the scientific community was treated with another new mineral when a piece of a million-year-old meteorite was analyzed, revealing an unprecedented alien mineral. A new study of davemaoite from the University of Nevada shows that we probably have an abundance of unknown materials under our noses. This suggests that diamonds may form lower in the mantle than scientists thought possible, opening up a vast new field of study for geophysicists.

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