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Name: Jenny
Status: Student
Grade: 6-8
Location: CA
Country: United States
Date: December 2007


Question:
How do diamonds form?



Replies:
Hi Jenny!

A diamond is a transparent gem made of carbon, one of the earth's most common elements. The formation of diamonds began very early in the planet Earth's history, when the condensation of solid matter into a sphere caused the centre of the planet to become subjected to incredible extremes of temperatures and pressure.

Experiments and the high density of diamonds tell us that they crystallize at very high pressures. In nature this means that diamonds are created by geologic processes at great depth within Earth, generally more than 150 kilometers down, in a region beneath the crust known as the mantle. In the beginning of Earth formation deposits of carbon element begin to crystallise deep as diamonds. As the Earth's surface cooled, volcanic activity forced streams of magna (liquid rock) to the surface, carrying with it the diamond crystals. Later, the diamond-bearing rock hardened, encasing the diamonds in vertical volcanic "pipes".

But not all diamonds are found where they first came to the surface. Subsequent erosion of the topsoils over millions of years washed some of the diamonds into streams and rivers, and sometimes as far away as the sea. It is highly probable that they were first discovered in areas such as these, far away from their original location.

Thanks for asking NEWTON!

Mabel (Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)



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