When University of Tennessee, Knoxville, geologists Larry Taylor and Yang Liu inspect diamonds, they look for minerals, inclusions jewelers hate, but whose presence could be clues for how parts of earth formed.
Taylor, distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences, and Liu, research assistant professor, have been awarded $380,000 by the National Science Foundation. The UT geologists will partner with researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences to study diamond deposits in northern Siberia.
Diamonds in that region are veritable time capsules giving researchers a window into how the continent of North Asia formed.
"These diamonds are carrying information that goes back 3.5 billion years," said Yang. "It helps us piece together how the deep mantle beneath the Asian continent formed and how it evolved."
These diamond deposits are some of largest in the world. They are also some of the most well-preserved, thanks to the cold climate, which protects against weathering by encasing the diamonds in permafrost. Also, Siberia contains thousands of unique volcanoes, called kimberlites, that carry diamonds to the surface from hundreds of miles deep within the earth, unlike 'normal' volcanoes which carry them from a few miles deep.
"The diamonds are brought up through a conduit called a pipe by this strange volcanic magma called a kimberlite," Taylor said. "These kimberlites are the sources of the major diamonds of the world and are the carriers of these prizes from the mantle, where they have formed in high-pressure and high-temperature environments."
The researchers' goal is to determine how Asia's craton—the part of a continent that is stable and forms the central mass of the continent—formed and built upon itself over billions of years. By examining the chemical isotopes of the minerals inside the diamonds, the researchers are able to date the minerals and diamonds and trace their evolutionary history.
"In order to obtain the important chemical information, we polish the diamonds and expose the mineral inclusions," Yang said. "There are no natural materials harder than diamonds, so they are very difficult to polish. We are the only group in the United States that polishes diamonds for scientific purposes."
Through this project, the scientists have access to samples from across the Siberian craton that will enable them to reconstruct the complete life of the craton's early formation, which eventually led to the consolidation of the Asian continent.
The three-year collaboration between UT and the Russian Academy of Sciences was established with a formal agreement for an exchange of scholars. The agreement was signed by Taylor and academician Nikolai Pokhilenko in Novosibirsk, Siberia, this August.Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Whitney Heins | Newswise Science News
Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction
26.07.2017 | Universität Zürich
Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds
25.07.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.07.2017 | Life Sciences
26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences