Earth's plate boundaries may nurture diamond formation

High-pressure, high-temperature experiment supports idea about gems’ origins

By Gabriel Popkin, 15:50 PM December 2, 2013

Boundaries between tectonic plates may make ideal diamond nurseries, according to an experiment that mimics conditions deep in the Earth.

Diamonds form only at temperatures and pressures far greater than those on Earth's surface. Scientists have long thought diamonds could form in subduction zones, where one tectonic plate plunges under another and sinks hundreds of kilometers into the mantle.

To simulate this extreme environment, scientists led by Yuri Palyanov of the Russian Academy of Scienc...

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