Your browser does not support JavaScript
 
Under Pressure: How Diamonds Are Truly Formed
Posted By: 
Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pressure, pushing down on me, pressing down on you. So the famous Queen song goes. But while many elementary school students’ hands may shoot up when asked the question “How are diamonds formed,” the commonly known answer of coal being placed under extreme pressure is, in fact, incorrect. Queen did get the first part right, however; extreme pressure, but also heat, are the two main processes needed to form this colorless gemstone.

That’s right; forget everything your grandfather may have told you about diamonds coming from coal. (Though the common misconception has made for some hearty laughs.) Rather, the brilliant gemstone requires a different form of carbon to be formed. Diamonds are crystals of pure carbon that have formed under a combination of high temperatures and extreme pressure in the Earth’s mantle. Which in turn, as they aren’t found on the Earth’s surface, requires diamonds to mined in order to be located.

How hot is hot and how deep down into the Earth’s mantle are diamond’s formed? From 90 miles below the Earth’s surface and even farther downward, these sparkly stones are formed. But it doesn’t just take “Ouch, I burned my hand on the stovetop!” heat to make a diamond. These stones require at least 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (or 1,050 degrees Celsius, for those across the pond) for their formation. To put that in perspective for you, the surface of the sun is said to be about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. But how do diamonds work their way toward the Earth’s surface other than mining?

Some diamonds make their way to the surface because of volcanic eruptions. Yes, this is true and isn’t just some folklore grandpa told you. But it is a very specific type of volcanic eruption that helps the gemstones work their way to the Earth’s surface. Violent and deep-seated in the mantle, the eruptions carry already-formed diamonds from the upper parts of the mantle to the Earth’s surface. Upon reaching the surface, the magma from the eruption cools into what is known as kimberlite and lamproite rocks. It is from the former type of igneous rock that many of the world’s diamonds are found — not from coal.

Don’t create a dig zone in your backyard just yet in hopes of hitting the jackpot by finding some diamonds! While it does take extreme pressure and high heat to form the colorless gemstone, the environment they need doesn’t occur in the mantle everywhere across the globe. Along with the scalding temperature of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, diamonds are said to be formed in “diamond stability zones” in parts of the upper mantle beneath the stable interiors of continental plates. If this environment were common, everyone would be rushing out looking for diamonds in their yard. But, as it takes many factors to produce a diamond, this specific environment has only been found in a few parts around the world, primarily South Africa. Which, coincidentally, was where the first kimberlite rock was found, in Kimberley, South Africa.

Though there are a few other ways that diamonds are created in nature, the pressure and heat pushed down on carbon, in conjunction with deeply formed volcanic eruptions, cause the clear-cut gems to form. Next time you’re feeling under pressure, be thankful you aren’t made of carbon. But, as Marilyn Monroe once said, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” and while the Earth exerts a lot of effort in creating the stone used in the engagement ring of many, one thing is certain: coal has never been a part of that process.





 
 

Blog Categories

  • General Interest
    • 04/27/2018 - Electrical Safety Tips for Min
    • 03/26/2018 - Explosion-Proof Equipment: Sig
    • 02/27/2018 - Importance of Mobile Power Sol
    • 01/29/2018 - Turnkey Substations: 3 Benefit
    • 05/31/2017 - Mining with Robot Ghost Ships
    • 11/30/2016 - The American Industrial Mining
    • 09/20/2016 - Salt Mining
    • 08/15/2016 - News from China that Could Bol
    • 07/27/2016 - Komatsu to buy U.S. mining equ
    • 06/15/2016 - Mined Materials and Iron from
    • 05/12/2016 - Five Minutes in a Coal Mine
    • 04/15/2016 - Mining for a Heart of Gold
    • 03/15/2016 - A New World in Mining
    • 12/07/2015 - A Luminous Discovery: Even MOR
    • 11/17/2015 - A Dazzling Discovery: More Gem
    • 10/26/2015 - Inside the Job: Electrical Dra
    • 10/23/2015 - A Brilliant Discovery: Gems Mi
    • 09/23/2015 - Uses of Coal: Coal to Liquid F
    • 08/19/2015 - Uses of Coal: Cement
    • 08/07/2015 - Inside the Job: Welder
    • 07/09/2015 - Uses of Coal: Steel
    • 06/23/2015 - Uses of Coal: Electricity
    • 06/11/2015 - Using Electrical Currents: Alt
    • 05/18/2015 - Using Electrical Currents: Dir
    • 05/11/2015 - Determining Rank on the Mohs S
    • 04/18/2015 - Electrical Deities in the Amer
    • 04/12/2015 - Under Pressure: How Diamonds A
    • 03/11/2015 - Electricity as a Deity
    • 03/06/2015 - The Largest of Their Kind: Eve
    • 02/12/2015 - The Largest of Their Kind: Rec
    • 02/11/2015 - Time to “Take Off” with This N
    • 01/14/2015 - Commonly Mined Elements and Mi
    • 12/23/2014 - Everyday Applications of Coal
    • 12/16/2014 - What Caused the War on Current
    • 11/12/2014 - More on the Professions Our Em
    • 11/12/2014 - Contents in Fine Jewelry
    • 09/16/2014 - Abandoned Mining Towns in the
    • 08/19/2014 - Useful Smartphone Apps for Ele
    • 07/11/2014 - All About the Coinage Act of 1
    • 06/17/2014 - A (Brief) History of Silver Mi
    • 05/21/2014 - The History of Gold Mining

Tag Cloud
 


Elgin Power Solutions

Email: info@gilbertelectricalsystems.com

Phone:
+1-304-252-6243

   

Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved. Elgin Power Solutions