There could be a quadrillion tons of diamonds 100 miles under Earth’s floor. However the farthest we’ve traveled is 7 miles down, so how may we all know that?
There’s apparently a quadrillion tons of diamonds 100 miles under Earth’s floor. However we’ve by no means been that far down, so how do we all know there are diamonds there?
We ought to actually begin by asking how do we all know what’s lots of of miles under earth’s floor within the first place?
We principally know as a result of of seismic waves, that are attributable to the motion or vibration of the bottom in response to forces which are put on it, say by an earthquake or a nuclear explosion. It’s like how jello in a bowl responds once I do that.
There are three main sorts of seismic waves, main waves, secondary waves, and floor waves. P and S waves journey via the earth and the velocity and route that they transfer in tells us a lot concerning the totally different supplies which are lots of or 1000’s of miles beneath us.
P waves journey the quickest, about 4 miles per second. In order that they’re picked up by seismometers first. P waves transfer like an inch worm does, squeezing and increasing as they journey. And so they transfer extra rapidly via denser, inflexible materials like rock and metallic, however they decelerate in liquid.
Scientists realized that when P-waves have been reaching a sure depth they have been slowing down after which have been barely deflected as they made their option to the opposite aspect of our planet, creating what’s referred to as a “P-wave shadow zone”—an space on the aspect of the Earth reverse the earthquake, the place no P-waves may attain.
Later, geophysicist Inge Lehmann hypothesized that there was a liquid zone sandwiched between two rocky layers, which we now name Earth’s mantle and internal core. The liquid layer is Earth’s outer core.
The best way S waves transfer additionally signifies a liquid outer core. They have been about half as quick as P waves and so they transfer in an up and down or aspect to aspect movement, altering in form, relying on the fabric they transfer via. Similar to P waves, S waves transfer via totally different solids at totally different speeds. And the velocity all relies upon on how inflexible the fabric is.
In contrast to P waves, they will’t transfer via liquid. In order that they disappear on the mantle core boundary and so they don’t present up on this shadow zone once more, indicating a liquid layer under a stable one.
So what does this need to do with diamonds? Properly, researchers realized that about a hundred miles beneath Earth’s continents within the higher mantle, seismic waves choose up velocity. Bear in mind seismic waves transfer quickest via denser, extra inflexible materials, however the researchers didn’t know what that materials could possibly be.
Previous seismic wave research, and a couple different findings confirmed that Earth’s higher mantle was principally made of a rock referred to as peridotite, however even essentially the most inflexible peridotite wouldn’t trigger seismic waves to hurry up. However even essentially the most inflexible peridotites wouldn’t trigger seismic waves to hurry up as a lot because the researchers have been seeing. There needed to be one thing else in there too.
So the researchers examined a bunch of totally different rock and mineral combos
to see if any of them may make seismic waves velocity up that a lot. And the one materials they discovered would do it was diamonds, not simply a few diamonds about
a quadrillion tons of diamonds embedded in tremendous inflexible rocks like eclogites.
So what’s it about diamonds that makes them inflexible sufficient for seismic waves to noticeably velocity up?
Diamonds are structured preparations of carbon atoms the place every carbon atom is covalently bonded to 4 different carbon atoms. That is what makes them one of the toughest hardest substances on earth.
I imply, diamond is used to drill via stone, ceramic and bone, and solely diamond can be utilized to shine diamond.
Diamonds kind when carbon atoms are put below intense warmth and strain, and Earth’s mantle has temperatures over a thousand levels Celsius and pressures round 50,000 instances that on earth floor.
So discovering diamonds there wasn’t a shock, however a quadrillion tons price positively was. That’s a complete lot of sparkle.
So how certain are we that that a lot bling is beneath our ft?
The quadrillion tons of diamonds speculation is usually based mostly on seismic knowledge. So some diamond and geochemistry researchers are nonetheless skeptical.
One cause is that in volcanic eruptions, when rock from the mantle is introduced as much as the floor by magma researchers usually solely discover actually small quantities of diamond in comparison with the quantity of rock. I’m speaking lower than 0.01%.
And different work has proven that the quantity of carbon and eclogites these tremendous inflexible rocks that I discussed earlier can actually differ from round 0.0003% to round 14% with most having lower than 1% diamond.
And also you’d want round 3% diamond to get that quadrillion tons.
There’s clearly a lot extra work to be performed, however that’s how science is by doing analysis, we continue to learn extra.