Mysterious minerals discovered in South African diamonds

A single stone grain inside a diamond containing a previously unseen mineral has been discovered by scientists.

This new substance is thought to be able to reveal unusual chemical reactions occurring in the mantle, the layer of Earth between the planet’s crust and outer core.

Mysterious minerals discovered in South African diamonds
Newly discovered exotic minerals.

Scientists say they have unearthed diamonds from a volcano in South Africa called Koffiefontein . One of the diamonds found, scientists discovered there is a special green color in this diamond, taken 170km underground.

They named the new mineral “goldschmidtite” extracted from a South African diamond, a name in honor of the famous chemist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt.

The entire crust of the Earth is about 2,900km thick. The intense pressure and heat in the upper mantle transform the carbon deposits into sparkling diamonds. By analyzing the minerals in diamonds, scientists can peek into the chemical processes that occur beneath the Earth’s crust.

The study authors note that goldschmidtite has a very special chemical composition.

“Goldschmidtite has high concentrations of niobium, potassium, lanthanum and cerium rare earths, while the rest of the mantle is dominated by other elements, such as magnesium and iron,” said study co-author Nicole Meyer, PhD student at the University of Alberta in Canada, said.

Potassium and niobium make up the majority of specialty minerals, meaning that relatively rare elements are combined and concentrated to form unusual substances, although other neighboring elements are more abundant.

“Goldschmidtite is very unusual in diamond and gives us a snapshot of the fluid processes that affect the roots of continents,” said chemist Graham Pearson, Nicole Meyer’s instructor.