It has been long believed that the basis of which diamonds form is coal. However, geologists have been disputing just how much of a role coal plays in the formation of these complex gemstones. So far it has been determined there is a small role but not as significant as one may believe. As it turns out, it is carbon and rock which undergo extreme pressure and heat, who are the main contributors to the creation of these beautiful stones.
Formation in the Mantle
Kimberlite, an igneous rock that has become synonymous with diamonds, forms deep in the Earth’s mantle and is forced to the surface by volcanic eruptions. During this sudden and violent process, the rock undergoes the extreme conditions needed to produce the coveted diamonds. Once the kimberlite reaches the surface, weathering and erosion will then allow the rock to expose the stowaway diamonds in sedimentary deposits such as streams and coastlines.
This process once again occurs in the mantle but where two tectonic plates meet one another below the ocean’s surface. When the plates collide, the pressure and heat presented creates the perfect scenario for the formation of diamonds. However, many of these diamonds are far too small for commercial use once they reach the shorelines.
For as long as the Earth has been in existence it has been struck by meteors and asteroids. When these massive space travelers strike the Earth, they are traveling at such high speeds that their hypervelocity is a recipe for diamonds. Their impact creates the temperatures and pressure needed for diamond formation but the rock the asteroid hits must contain carbon, making diamonds that form in this manner exceedingly rare.
When two meteorites or asteroids make contact with one another in space, the force of impact allows the carbon to become perfectly pressurized to create diamonds which are embedded into the said masses. However, these diamonds are about the size of a nanometer and are far too small for commercial use.
While there are a variety of ways for diamonds to naturally occur, the one thing they all have in common is the presence of carbon enduring high pressure and temperature for these gorgeous, beloved stones to exist.
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