Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Scientists have Discovered a Never-Seen-Before Mineral from the Earth's Mantel

A Diamond From Deep Beneath Earth's Surface Hides a Rare Mineral Wikimedia Commons
Sandra Phillips | 09 March, 2018, 20:29

Known as "Calcium Silicate Perovskite", the mineral was found by researchers well-preserved in a diamond. Its occurrence is expected to be mostly in the areas where the slabs of the oceanic crust have taken a dive into Earth's mantle near the tectonic boundaries.

The discovered mineral, which is called calcium silicate perovskite (CaSiO3), was discovered to be trapped inside a diamond which was recently excavated from the Premier Mine in Cullinan town of South Africa.

He said that the diamond they found would have sustained more than 24 billion pascals of pressure, equivalent to the pressure of 240,000 atmosphere. It's a mineral that is not found on Earth's surface, but is incredibly abundant in the lower parts of the planet's mantle. Based on the research that will be published in the journal "Nature" on March 8, the researchers have estimated that the overall quantity of this mineral of Zetta tonnes i.e. 1021 tonnes buried deep inside the Earth's mantle. Experts from the University of Alberta and noted, indicating that, first, therefore, the value of the materials may increase, and secondly, the prism of the study of minerals using precious materials can give a modern theory a lot of new and interesting features. "The only possible way of preserving [it] at the Earth's surface is when it's trapped in an unyielding container like a diamond", Graham Pearson, one of the authors of the study said.

The fact that the diamond has such a mineral trapped inside of it means that it likely formed many hundreds of miles below the surface. Usually, diamonds form due to the effect of heat and pressure at depths of 150-200 kilometers, but diamonds formed at much lower depths are occasionally found, providing invaluable clues into our planet's interior. But as Michelle Starr of Science Alert reports, researchers have found a piece of CaSiO3 that managed to make it close to the surface of the Earth, encased in a tiny diamond. He added that studying such diamonds would provide an insight into the oceanic crust and exactly what happens when a denser oceanic plate plunges into the Earth's mantle when opposed to continental plates.

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He said that the discovery once again highlights the uniqueness of diamonds being able to preserve things that we otherwise would never be able to see.

"It's a nice illustration of how science works", Pearson said in a statement.

Dr Peason, Canada's Excellence Research Chair Laureate, was also behind the major 2014 discovery of ringwoodite - Earth's fifth most abundant mineral - in a diamond that pointed to a vast reservoir of water bound to silicate rocks in Earth's mantle.

Pearson worked with an global team of researchers including one of the best X-ray crystallographers in the world, Fabrizio Nestola from Padova, Italy, as well as scientists from the Deep Carbon Observatory in Washington, DC.

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