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Student discovers new strange mineral in a South African diamond

A new mineral called Goldschmidtit (in honor of Norwegian chemist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt) was discovered by a student at the University of Alberta. The mineral was found in a diamond taken from a South African mine.

Nicole Meyer, a PhD student at the Diamond Exploration Research and Training School of the Canadian Institute, discovered a mineral that has an “unusual” chemical signature as a mineral of the Earth’s mantle. In fact, it is characterized by high concentrations of niobium, potassium and other rare elements such as lanthanum and cerium.

In fact, the dominant elements in the Earth’s mantle are more magnesium and iron than anything else, as Meyer himself states. The researchers who published the study of the American mineralogist, therefore, believe that this material was formed at a depth of about 170 km in environments with temperatures above 1200 ° C. The material is known to have been formed at a depth of about 170 km.

Finding minerals like these in diamonds is one of the few, if not the only way, to discover these minerals that are more “exotic” than the depths of the earth, as it is impossible to dig to such depths with current technologies.

According to Graham Pearson, Meyers Supervisor, this discovery is also important because it provides a snapshot of the fluid processes that affect the deep roots of the continents during diamond formation.


Background info and sources:

https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/msa/ammin/article-abstract/104/9/1345/573334/goldschmidtite-k-ree-sr-nb-cr-o3-a-new-perovskite

Image source:

https://scx2.b-cdn.net/gfx/news/hires/2019/studentdisco.jpg

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