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Friday / March 24.

A diamond is not a processed chunk of coal, claim scientists

Black and white picture of a diamond in a heap of coal.

By Noreen

Myth: Diamonds are formed from coal.

According to evolutionists and geologists, diamonds were formed about 1–3 billion years ago, that’s way earlier than any known record of even the Earth’s first land plants let alone coal. Coal, known as a fossil fuel is formed from the dead remains of vegetation like trees, ferns and other plants and life. The formation of coal takes millions of years and can be traced back to 300 to 400 million years ago, but not a billion years. So, how again are diamonds supposed to have formed from coal that didn’t even exist then? They didn’t.

Natural diamonds, the hardest substance known to man require very high temperatures (ranging from 900 to 1300 on the Celsius scale) and pressure that exists only at depths of 87 to 120 miles (140 to 190 kilometers) in the Earth’s mantle to form. Unlike other gems which are formed by a combination of elements, diamonds are made up of one single element- Carbon. Carbon-containing minerals present in the Earth at those depths, crystallize to form diamonds because of the immense pressure together with the heat from molten magma.

The diamond crystals are then transported to the surface during deep-source volcanic eruptions in the magma. This is quite a rare occurrence as diamonds are formed at depths usually 3-4 times deeper than that at which normal volcanoes originate. However, when this magma cools, it forms igneous rocks known as kimberlites (named after the diamond-bearing region of Kimberly, South Africa where these rocks were first identified) and lamproites, used as an indicator that diamonds may be found in that area.

The Kimberlites form narrow pipe shaped fissures which are also referred to as diamond pipes. The most prominent kimberlites are located in South Africa and Central Africa which roughly contributes for 49% of the natural diamonds mined in the World.

Coal is an amorphous form of carbon and at the most can change its chemical composition and transform into its nearly purest form which is Graphite but not diamond. The conversion of coal into diamond is almost impossible due to its impurities and the fact that coal is rarely buried to depths greater than two miles (3.2 kilometers) which is not conducive to the formation of diamonds.

Bonus Facts:

  • In stark contrast to a diamond’s extraordinary hardness, colorless appearance and shine when cut, the other form of pure carbon is graphite, which is very soft with a soapy feel and a dull gray color.
  • Kimberlites, though rare, are widespread throughout the surface of the earth. Most well known diamond producing pipes are small, 12 to 75 acres but they generally occur in clusters of six to forty pipes. The most prominent kimberlites are located in South Africa.
  • Approximately 130 million carats (26,000 kg (57,000 lb)) of diamonds are mined annually, with a total value of nearly US$9 billion.

     The author is a regular contributor at Today I found Out.
    This article has been previously published at Today I Found Out. You can also check out some of their videos here.
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