Antarctica could be rich in diamonds, new study says

In a scientific paper published in the journal Nature Communications, a team said they had found a telltale rock called kimberlite in the Prince Charles Mountains in East Antarctica.

No diamonds were found in the samples, taken from Mount Meredith, and the study – focusing only on the region’s geology, not on mining possibilities – was not designed to quantify how many could be there.

But, it said, the mineral’s signature is identical to that in other locations in the world where diamonds have been found.

Kimberlite, a rock that is rarely found near Earth’s surface, is believed to be formed at great depths in the mantle, where conditions are right for forming diamonds – carbon atoms that are squeezed into lattice shapes under extreme pressure and temperature.

The study suggested kimberlite was thrust towards the surface around 120 million years ago, when present-day Africa, the Arabian peninsula, South America, the Indian subcontinent, Australia and Antarctica were glommed together in a supercontinent called Gondwana.

Outcrops of kimberlite studded the centre of Gondwana at this time. The component continents then drifted apart, which explains why diamonds have been found in such diverse and distant locations, from Brazil to southern Africa and India, according to this theory.

Source | AFP