Ancient Diamonds Contain Volatiles Similar to Today’s Mantle

by | Jul 16, 2021 | Daily Space, Earth | 0 comments

IMAGE: One of the 2.7 billion year-old diamonds used in this work. CREDIT: Michael Broadley

In a presentation at the Goldschmidt Conference, researchers explained how ancient diamonds were used to determine the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. They found that at least 2.7 billion years ago, our planet was primed and ready for an explosion of life. The volatile gases trapped in those diamonds, such as hydrogen, nitrogen, neon, and various carbon molecules, were found to exist in similar proportions to what we find in our current mantle. Basically, the conditions necessary for life were here billions of years ago and haven’t fundamentally altered since. Diamonds, it turns out, make amazing time capsules for us to use in studying our planet’s distant past. One of the benefits of being the hardest mineral on the Mohs scale is that they’re almost indestructible. So maybe diamonds are actually a planetary scientist’s best friend…

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Ancient diamonds show Earth was primed for life’s explosion at least 2.7 billion years ago (EurekAlert)

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