Messenger from the Deep

For the first time, X-ray diffraction techniques that are both extremely high-resolution and non-destructive were used on a single crystal of olivine trapped within a diamond from Siberia's Udachnaya kimberlite.

DiamondFor the first time, X-ray diffraction techniques that are both extremely high-resolution and non-destructive were used on a single crystal of olivine trapped within a diamond from Siberia's Udachnaya kimberlite. The international research team [1] used a two-step procedure to overcome experimental problems in refining the olivine's crystal structure without extracting it from the diamond. The procedure included accurate crystal centering using a four-circle diffractometer equipped with a Charge-Couple Device (CCD) detector.  This in situ approach means that the morphologic and growth features of the inclusion and host - as well as the inclusion's internal pressure - can be maintained and measured throughout the study. Because of their deep origin, diamonds and their inclusions play a key role in understanding the composition of Earth's mantle. The inclusions reflect the chemical composition and mineral assemblages of rocks from the deep lithosphere, and the formation pressures measured for this diamond and its inclusion suggest that it formed near the graphite-diamond boundary.

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