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Earth/Environment

Diamonds from the depths have shallow elements, New Zealand earthquake helped triggered its successor and more in this week's news

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9:57am, September 24, 2011

Superdeep diamonds born of surface carbon
Rare diamonds formed more than 600 kilometers below the Earth’s surface have revealed just how low carbon can go. Collected in Brazil, the diamonds contain minerals and quantities of a light form of carbon that match the makeup of parts higher up, in the Earth’s crust. An international team of researchers believes that a slab of oceanic crust sank and melted, contributing carbon to the diamonds before rising again to the surface in a hot plume. Studies of seismic waves created by earthquakes had suggested that crust could reach such depths, but the diamonds are first superdeep samples consistent with volcanic rock from the surface, the researchers report online September 15 in Science. Devin Powell

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