It is a symbol of purity and eternal love, but this gem is not as rare as it has been believed. But the new study suggests an even simpler condition – diamond formation can occur with changes in pH, or the acidity/basicity of fluids.
According to the report, a new quantitative theory of diamond formation has been found. But hold on to those shopping cards, ladies-this information does not mean it will be easier to find the world’s most “expensive” gem and bring them to the market. In fact, most are microscopic, measuring just a few microns in diameter. According to the researchers’ model, which is yet to be tested, diamondscan form in an increasingly acidic environment during an interaction between water and rock.
Deep Earth is likely filled with diamonds, scientists say
The new model suggests that at very high temperatures (over 899 degrees Celsius) and high pressures (over 725,000 pounds per square inch), water can form diamonds naturally as it moves from one kind of rock to another. For another, the diamonds considered in Sverjensky’s studies are not necessarily the stuff of romantic betrothals, unless the ring recipient has a microscope. Thus, they might not have any impact of diamonds price or their usage in jewelry.
Until now, it has been thought that diamonds are only formed in more complex processes involving the movement of fluid and either the oxidation of methane – when electrons are gained – or the chemical reduction of carbon dioxide. In most of the cases, we are able to mine the diamonds which are pushed higher by rare volcanic magma eruptions.
“Here we show that diamonds could form due to a drop in pH during water-rock interactions”, lead author of the report, Dimitri A Sverjensky, said. Additionally, this process is more common than redox reactions because it doesn’t require different types of water and an oxidation state of rock layers in order to happen. Moreover, researchers are not sure why the “redox reactions” or change in oxidation state takes place.
In this new study, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University are now suggesting that a simpler process and more common conditions can also result in diamond formations.
It is physically impossible to explore the environment where the tiny diamonds are created, he added. To put it into perspective, man’s deepest drilling excursion made it only so far as 9 miles down.
This new study is also crucial in the better understanding of fluid dynamics deep within the Earth, revealing secret processes of slow moving carbon cycle that is also the source of life on this planet.
“Fluids are the key link between the shallow and the deep Earth”, Sverjensky says.