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Rare Diamond Found: Tiny Green Gem Reveals Earth Secrets

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 09:30 AM

By Alexandra Ward


A rare diamond found in Brazil after it was gurgled up from the depths of the earth's mantle recently contains a clue that researchers say reveals new information about the world down under.

Miners in JuĂ­na, Brazil, discovered the tiny, green gemstone after a volcanic eruption brought it up from an estimated 325 miles beneath the earth's surface, LiveScience.com reported.

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The rare diamond was found to contain a small piece of an olivine metal called ringwoodite, which has only ever been discovered before in meteorites. The presence of the mineral reportedly indicates that there is a large amount of water in the earth's mantle, the layer of hot rock sandwiched between the crust and the core, scientists wrote in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

"It's actually the confirmation that there is a very, very large amount of water that's trapped in a really distinct layer in the deep Earth," Graham Pearson, lead study author and a geochemist at the University of Alberta in Canada, told LiveScience.com.

Ringwoodite, which only forms under extreme pressure hundreds of miles below the earth's surface, contains about 1.5 percent water in the form of hydroxide ions, LiveScience.com noted.

"Most people, including me, never expected to see such a sample [of ringwoodite in the diamond]," Hans Keppler, a geochemist at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, wrote in a commentary also published in Nature Wednesday. "Samples from the transition zone and lower mantle are exceedingly rare and are only found in a few, unusual diamonds,"

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