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30,000 diamonds found in rock in Russian mine

Because the diamonds are so small, less than 1mm, they are worthless as gem stones. The scientific value of the stone, on the other hand, makes the donation to the Russian Academy of Sciences for study a treasure for geologists and other scientists.

“The exciting thing for me is there are 30,000 itty-bitty, perfect octahedrons, and not one big diamond,” said Larry Taylor, a geologist with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, to Live Science. “It’s like they formed instantaneously.”

The incredible amount of diamonds in the stone, 9.5 percent of it is composed of diamonds, is much higher than in any other diamond bearing rocks discovered. The stone itself has a of garnet and olivine which gives it a Christmas hue.

A team of researchers from the United States, Germany and the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences used a high-resolution X-ray to create 2D and 3D scans of the stone, similar to the way a CT scan works on people. The scans will allow the scientists to study the stone and fit the information into the theories of Earth’s geological history.

“The associations of minerals will tell us something about the genesis of this rock, which is a strange one indeed,” said Taylor.

Scientists believe diamonds are created deep in the Earth, where the terrific pressures in the mantle squeeze carbon into diamonds. The trip from the mantle back up to the Earth’s surface disintegrate the rock that hold the famously hard diamonds together. By the time the diamonds have made the journey, they are usually free stones without the rock surrounding them. The rock discovered in Russia is one of the rare ones that made the journey without disintegrating.

“The reactions in which diamonds occur still remain an enigma,” said Taylor.
Russia is the largest diamond producing country in the world and produced more than 33 million carats in the last year. Alrosa, the government owned mining company, accounted for 99 percent of Russia’s diamond output and generated a revenue of more than $4 billion.

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