Still searching for that special Christmas gift for that special someone? A red, and green rock that is perfect for the stocking, and is comprised with 30,000 small tiny diamonds.
This sparkling chunk was found in Russia’s large Udachnaya diamond mine and subsequently donated to science (partially due to the diamonds’ small size making them worthless). Researchers rejoiced because the rock is a rare find in many different ways.
“The exciting thing for me is there are 30,000 itty-bitty, perfect octahedrons, and not one big diamond,” said Larry Taylor, a geologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who presented the findings. “It’s like they formed instantaneously.”
The concentration of diamonds found in the rock is millions of times greater than a typical diamond ore, which averages 1 to 6 carats per ton. A carat is equal to one fifth of a gram or .007 ounces roughly.
The rock’s rare coloring will be able to provide scientists with important clues in regards to the Earth’s geologic history as well as the origin of gemstones that are similar to this one. It may also help aid scientists in finding the origin of diamonds, which has been a question for many centuries.
Many researchers believe that diamonds are born deep below the earth’s surface, in the mantle layer. Diamond rich material from this area is carried to the surface through an explosive volcanic eruption. However, most mantle rocks disintegrate during the trip upwards, which lives only the loose crystals at the surface. This what makes the Udachnaya rock one of the rarest nuggets because it survived the rocky ride upwards.
Through a 3d model built from X-rays revealed that thousands of diamonds were clustered together in a tight band and measured 1mm tall. The remainder of the rock is embedded with larger crystals of red garnet, green olivine, and pyroxene.
After many tests and x-rays were conducted, the findings suggest that the diamonds were formed from fluids that escaped the subducted oceanic crust, likely composed of a dense rock.