Feeds

Scientists probe space origin of rare black diamonds

'Carbonado' gems under scrutiny

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Scientists have suggested that rare black "carbonado" diamonds - found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic - may have arrived on Earth aboard a kilometre-wide asteroid, New Scientist reports.

The rare gems are, unlike other diamonds, "made of millions of diamond crystals that are stuck together", and are also porous. They are not found in conventional diamond fields and have to date been unearthed in just two locations.

This evidence, according to Stephen Haggerty, a geologist at Florida International University in Miami, points to extraterrestrial origin. He notes that the carbonados' porosity would probably not be possible under domestic diamond-producing conditions, where the "intense pressure" at around 200km below the Earth's surface "turns carbon into conventional diamonds".

Haggerty and his colleagues subjected carbonados to an infrared synchrotron at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and found they contained hydrogen indicating they originated in "hydrogen-rich interstellar space". The spectral tests showed they "closely resemble" diamonds found in other asteroids and those observed in space, and are between 2.6 and 3.8bn years old.

The "diamond dust" from which they eventually formed "may have been released when a star exploded in a supernova billions of years ago", NS explains. These particles subsequently "coalesced into larger clumps that became embedded in asteroids".

Regarding the geographical spread of the black rarities, the asteroid impact would have occurred billions of years ago when Africa and South America were still joined. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial
And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years
ETs, habitable planets will soon pop up with our new 'scopes
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.