Dreaming of diamonds? Well, you may just find them in trillions tonnes but this time you may have to take your treasure hunt miles and miles deep below the earth’s surface. Believe it or not, scientists say there are much more diamonds buried deep below the surface of the earth, far deeper and much more than ever thought.
Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US say ultradeep cache may be scattered within cratonic roots - the oldest and most immovable sections of rock that lie beneath the centre of most continental tectonic plates.
The study was published in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.
Diamond not so exotic a mineral?
About a quadrillion tonnes of diamond may be scattered within the ancient rocks, 90 to 150 miles below the surface of the earth, they said.
“This shows that diamond is not perhaps this exotic mineral, but on the (geological) scale of things, it is relatively common,” said Ulrich Faul, a research scientist in MIT.
“We can’t get at them, but still, there is much more diamond there than we have ever thought before,” Faul said in the study
What are cratonic roots?
Shaped like inverted mountains, cratons can stretch as deep as 200 miles through the Earth’s crust and into its mantle; geologists refer to their deepest sections as “roots.”
Scientists estimate that cratonic roots may contain one to two per cent diamond.
How does the earth’s interior look like?
Seismic data can be used to construct an image of what the Earth’s interior might look like, scientists say.
For the past few decades, agencies such as the US Geological Survey have kept global records of seismic activity - essentially, sound waves travelling through the Earth that are triggered by earthquakes, tsunamis, explosions, and other ground-shaking sources.
Seismic receivers around the world pick up sound waves from such sources, at various speeds and intensities, which seismologists can use to determine where, for example, an earthquake originated.
Sound waves move at various speeds through the Earth
Sound waves move at various speeds through the Earth, depending on the temperature, density, and composition of the rocks through which they travel.
Scientists have used this relationship between seismic velocity and rock composition to estimate the types of rocks that make up the Earth’s crust and parts of the upper mantle, also known as the lithosphere.
(With inputs from agencies)