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, email@example.com)
Whitney Heins | Newswise Science News
New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon
16.07.2018 | University of California - Santa Cruz
Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences