Flaws make it a geologist's best friend

1:30pm, March 16, 2004

To a potential fiancée, flaws in a diamond can warn of a boyfriend with poor judgment—or a thin wallet. To geophysicists, however, some of these flaws may provide priceless clues that are critical to understanding the conditions under which the gems formed.

By analyzing some of a diamond's trapped impurities, an international team has demonstrated a way to measure remnants of the gargantuan pressure that produced a diamond. The scientists, led by Nikolai V. Sobolev of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk, report their results in the Oct. 24 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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