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Scientific breakthrough could assist pinpoint valuable diamond mines | Science & Tech Information

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Scientists have paved the best way for future discoveries of uncommon diamonds after fixing why they “erupt” within the Earth’s floor.

The prized jewels, that are a whole lot of thousands and thousands and even billions of years {old}, have lengthy been recognized to kind beneath nice strain and are sometimes present in a sort of volcanic rock known as kimberlite.

However their path to the floor was extra of a puzzle – till now.

A staff of researchers from the College of Southampton discovered the driving pressure is the breakup of tectonic plates.

These large slabs of rock, that are chunks of the Earth’s crust, pressure the era and eruption of diamond-rich magmas from deep contained in the planet.

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Dr Tom Gernon, affiliate professor of Earth science at Southampton, stated the “cyclical” sample of those diamond eruptions mimicked the rhythm of the supercontinents, which assemble and break up over time.

The newest supercontinent was Pangaea, which existed about 335 million years in the past and was made up of each continent that at the moment exists on Earth.

A significant diamond mine in South Africa

Dr Gernon’s staff, which additionally included researchers from Birmingham and Leeds universities, used statistical evaluation and machine studying – a area of AI the place computer systems are taught to make predictions based mostly on information – to look at the hyperlink between continental break-up and kimberlite formations.

Birmingham’s Dr Stephen Jones, the research’s co-author, in contrast it to a “domino impact”.

The scientists discovered most kimberlite volcano eruptions occurred 20 to 30 million years after Pangaea broke up, regularly migrating from the sides of continents in the direction of the interiors.

They then discovered the Earth’s mantle – the layer between the crust and the core – was disrupted by “rifting”, when two tectonic plates transfer away from one another.

This sees chunks of continental crust sink into the mantle beneath, eradicating substantial quantities of rock – tens of kilometres thick – from the bottom of the continental plate.

Dr Gernon stated: “This course of brings collectively the required substances in the proper quantities to set off simply sufficient melting to generate kimberlites.”

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EMBARGOED TO 1600 WEDNESDAY JULY 26 Undated handout photo issued by the University of Southampton of a diamond ore rock (kimberlite) showing dark crystals (olivine) and fragments of rock that were formed during explosive volcanic eruptions. The team of researchers, led by the University of Southampton, have discovered that the breakup of tectonic plates is the main driving force for the generation and eruption of diamond-rich magmas from deep inside the Earth. Diamonds are hundreds of millions o
Diamond ore rock (kimberlite) displaying darkish crystals and fragments of rock fashioned throughout volcanic eruptions

The scientists say their findings assist them perceive the areas and timings of previous volcanic eruptions, and due to this fact find potential diamond deposits.

The research was printed within the journal Nature.

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