A team of Australian researchers from Curtin University in Perth has made significant discoveries about the origins of pink diamonds. These rare and valuable gems, known for their stunning pink color, were formed over 1.3 billion years ago during the breakup of an early supercontinent. Pink diamonds, which are actually diamonds with a distorted crystal lattice, offer a unique beauty but come with a high cost.
The majority of pink diamonds in the world, over 90 percent, come from the now-closed Argyle mine in Western Australia. Out of a thousand gems, only a few were the coveted pink stones. The research team led by Dr. Hugo Olierook estimated that these diamonds were pushed to the Earth’s surface during the disappearance of Nuna, one of the oldest supercontinents. This suggests that other ancient continental unions may host more of these vibrant gems.
The Argyle diamonds were formed deep underground near stable continental roots. As the continents collided to form Nuna, the pressure generated near the northwest edge of Australia caused the diamonds, once transparent, to change color. Research conducted by Dr. Robert Pidgeon and his team in the late 1980s suggested that the eruption that brought the diamonds to the surface occurred approximately 1.2 billion years ago. However, the accuracy of this estimation was questioned due to possible alterations caused by an ancient lake.
Using advanced laser technology, the researchers were able to obtain a more accurate estimate of the age of the Argyle rocks. Their analysis revealed that the eruption occurred around 1.3 billion years ago, coinciding with the moment of Nuna’s breakup. The thinning of the continental edge during this breakup likely facilitated the movement of diamond-rich magma to the surface.
The connection between continental fragmentation and diamond formation is not a new concept but remains a subject of debate. The new study contributes to a better understanding of how the breakup of a supercontinent can trigger diamond-rich eruptions. However, there are still unanswered questions about the abundance of carbon necessary for the formation of Argyle diamonds.
This research represents a significant advancement in understanding the complex process that led to the creation of the unique and valuable pink diamonds of Argyle. Further studies are still required to provide a complete understanding of this ancient system. As with many aspects of nature, surprises are sure to continue to arise.
– Australian researchers discover the origin of pink diamonds: [Source 1]
– Nature Communications study on the origin of pink diamonds: [Source 2]