A grain of rock placed in a diamond contains never discovered mineral.
And this newly discovered substance can reveal unusual chemical reactions that unfold in the depths of the mantle, the layer of Earth that lies between the Earth's crust and the outer core.
Scientists have discovered a mineral from a volcanic object in South Africa, known as the Cofferentine Pipe. Shining diamonds penetrate the dark magmatic rock that outlines the pipe, and the diamonds themselves contain small bits of other minerals hundreds of miles below the earth's surface. Within one of these sparkling stones, scientists discovered a dark green, opaque mineral that they believed was forged about 1
They named the newly discovered mineral "goldschmidt" in honor of acclaimed geochemist Victor Moritz Goldschmid, according to a study published on September 1 in the journal by American Mineralogist .
The entire mantle is about 1802 miles (2900 km) thick, according to National Geographic which makes the lower regions of the layer difficult to study to scientists. The intense pressure and heat in the upper mantle transform modest carbon deposits into sparkling diamonds; Rocks capture other mantle minerals in their structures and can be pushed to the surface of the planet by underground volcanic eruptions. Analyzing mineral inclusions in diamonds, scientists can look into the chemical processes that take place far beneath the crust .
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The authors of the study noted that the mantle mineral has golden chemical composition.
"Goldschmidtite has high concentrations of niobium, potassium and rare earth elements lanthanum and cerium, while the rest of the mantle is dominated by other elements, such as magnesium and iron," by Nicole Mayer, PhD student at the University of Alberta in Canada , said in a statement . Potassium and niobium make up the bulk of the mineral, which means that relatively rare elements have been combined and concentrated to form the unusual substance, though other elements are more abundant nearby, she said.
"Goldschmidtite is extremely unusual for inclusion, captured by diamond and gives us a snapshot of liquid processes that affect the deep roots of continents during diamond formation," said mantle geochemist Graham Pearson in a statement. Mayer. The weird mineral is now in the Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto, Mayer told Live Science in an email.
Originally published by Live Science .