Feeds

Scientists probe space origin of rare black diamonds

'Carbonado' gems under scrutiny

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.