- A new, curious mineral has been discovered inside a diamond unearthed from a mine in South Africa.
- The mineral has been named goldschmidtite, after Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, the Norwegian scientist which is acknowledged as the founder of modern geochemistry.
Significance of the discovery
- Goldschmidtite has an unusual chemical signature for a mineral from Earth’s mantle.
- Though the mantle makes up about 80% of the Earth’s volume, very little is known about it. Reaching the mantle is not easy; it is about 2,900 km thick and no attempt to drill into it has been successful.
- Diamonds hold clues while unravelling the mystery of mantle as they are found up to 160 km beneath the surface, in the upper mantle.
- Diamonds that are unearthed were brought up closer to the surface, probably as a result of violent volcanic eruptions when the Earth was hotter.
- The discovery gives us a snapshot of fluid processes that affect the deep roots of continents during diamond formation.