The diamond, which was found in Cullinan, South Africa, contains the first evidence of a mineral that has never been studied before – calcium silicate perovskite. However, the scientists have supposed the mineral’s existence and were searching for it for years.
The scientists discovered the mineral inside a diamond
The fourth most abundant mineral on the planet, the calcium silicate perovskite, does not exist on the Earth’s surface without its structure being destroyed since its proper environment is only inside the mantle of the Earth, at about 700 kilometers in underground.
However, a few days ago Graham Pearson and other scientists have discovered for the mineral for the first time ever on the surface of the Earth, inside a diamond.
It is believed that the diamond originated approximately 700 kilometers below the surface of the Earth, while most diamonds are formed at a depth of 150 to 200 kilometers. In addition, it would have supported more than 24,000 million Pascal pressure, equivalent to 240,000 atmospheres.
X-ray tests have been conducted to prove the existence of the mineral inside the diamond
The small fragments of the calcium silicate perovskite were visible to the naked eye after the scientists have polished the diamond.
However, X-ray and spectroscopy tests were needed to confirm that the diamond contained the mineral known as calcium silicate perovskite. And, indeed, the diamond contains the mineral, this being, in fact, the first intact sample of calcium silicate perovskite that has ever been studied.
A report about the new discovery was published in the journal Nature.
“Nobody has ever managed to keep this mineral [calcium silicate perovskite] stable at the Earth’s surface.The only possible way of preserving this mineral at the Earth’s surface is when it’s trapped in an unyielding container like a diamond,” explained Graham Pearson, a researcher and professor at the University of Alberta and one of the study’s authors, in the recently published report.