Recent research of Geoscientists from Carnegie Institution for Science, Gemological Institute of America and the University of Alberta have unveiled a theory, adding to the already sought-after status of diamonds. One of the most precious gemstones, diamond is an important resource to Earth’s habitability and reveals how continents are stabilized.
The longevity of earth’s continent is a common research interest in the field of Geology, especially in the face of destructive tectonic activity, which studies the emergence of life on our planet. The stability is checked on the basis of underlying mantle which is attached to the landmasses. The team of geoscientists revealed that a growing section of the mantle beneath some of the continents became thick enough to provide long-term stability. Mantle keels are formed about 150 to 200 kilometers, 93 to 124 miles beneath the surface. These keels are geologic formations which act as stabilizers for the continental crust. When the components of the keels thickens, stabilizes, and cools under the continent, it forms a strong, buoyant, keel. According to geoscientists, it is this matter that plays a significant role in preserving the surface landmass against the relentless destructive forces of Earth’s tectonic activity. However, how this is accomplished is still a matter of debate in the scientific community.
Through their experiments, the team realized, traces of sulfur from ancient volcanoes which transformed into the mantle and eventually into diamonds provide evidence for one particular process of continent building. The tiny mineral grains which are locked inside a diamond are unwanted in the gem trade, but are most valuable to geoscientists, since they reveal information about the conditions under which the diamond was formed and also act as mineralogical emissaries from the Earth’s depths. The key to understanding how the continents came to exist in their current incarnations and how they survive on an active planet will answer important questions on earth’s habitability.
Reports suggest, the comparison to diamonds hence provides groundbreaking evidence to the scientists on keel-creation through subduction. Moreover, the sulfide components present in diamonds were useful to investigate continent construction processes.