Miners in Russia’s Udachnaya diamond mine received a nice little Christmas surprise when they pulled a highly unusual and very rare diamond encrusted rock from the ground a few weeks back. The rock is about the size of a ping-pong ball and contains an estimated (hold on to your seat!) – 30,000 diamonds! Unfortunately, the diamonds’ small size makes them only useful for mouse jewelry so the miners graciously donated the rock to science.
Editor note: Reeko said to tell the lab rats to stop groaning and get back in their cages.
Although the miners were sad that the diamonds were not bigger and the lab rats were sad because they will have no opportunity to sparkle, the scientists are very happy because, well, the concentration of diamonds in the rock is about 1 million times greater than found in typical diamond ore – and they’re not really sure how the highly-unusual rock formed. According to Live Science:
“Scientists think diamonds are born deep below Earth’s surface, in the layer between the crust and core called the mantle. Explosive volcanic eruptions then carry hunks of diamond-rich mantle to the surface. However, most mantle rocks disintegrate during the trip, leaving only loose crystals at the surface. The Udachnaya rock is one of the rare nuggets that survived the rocketing ride.”
Diamonds have been popular with people for hundreds of years and scientists know enough about them to make “artificial” diamonds in a lab. Regardless, they are still unsure how they are formed in the Earth’s deepest depths.