Scientists have apparently found 'Quadrillions' of tons of diamonds beneath Earth's surface
The old adage goes that one should spend three months worth of their salary on an engagement ring. Whether you're willing to give up a quarter of your year's earnings on a diamond ring for your future spouse is ultimately up to you, though it seems you might not need to dig so deep after it was discovered that diamonds aren't quite as rare as we initially thought.
Scientists have recently made a breakthrough discovery to find that underneath the earth's crust lie quadrillions of tons of diamonds. I'm not sure many of us can actually picture such an enormous number, but you get the idea that it's a lot. In fact, the discovery suggests that we actually have 1,000 times more diamonds on earth than previously expected.
However, while there might be a treasure trove of fat, shiny diamonds underneath the earth's surface, chances are we won't be able to get our hands on them. The quadrillions of tons of diamond are buried in the "cratonic roots" of the earth's continents, and they are unfortunately inaccessible due to the fact that they're located around 100 miles underground. No drill has ever gone that far, according to the MIT researchers.
"We can’t get at them, but still, there is much more diamond there than we have ever thought before," said Ulrich Faul, a research scientist MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. Sorry, it looks like engagement rings will continue to stay as pricey as they currently are.
Faul added that it means that diamond might not be as "exotic" as previously thought: "This shows that diamond is not perhaps this exotic mineral, but on the [geological] scale of things, it's relatively common."
They discovered the mass amounts of diamonds through a series of sound tests. Unlike light, sound is able to travel through solid rock. Diamond is a pretty neat rock in particular, not only because it looks gorgeous on jewellery, but also because sound travels through it in a very particular way.
"Diamond in many ways is special," Faul said. "One of its special properties is, the sound velocity in diamond is more than twice as fast as in the dominant mineral in upper mantle rocks, olivine."
It was due to this that scientists were able to discover the diamonds. It all began with an odd piece of data they found in their seismic observations. They noticed that sound waves seemed to speed up under certain parts of the earth's crust, and through a series of tests, they were able to conclude that this could be caused by an estimated sum of 1-2 per cent of diamonds that were part of the cratonic roots.
"It's circumstantial evidence, but we've pieced it all together," Faul said. "We went through all the different possibilities, from every angle, and this is the only one that's left as a reasonable explanation."
While we probably won't ever get to them, it does present an interesting new discovery about the stone we find so precious. Guestimates suggest that the quadrillions of tons of diamond would be worth something like $200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (£150,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) if you consider that a ton of diamonds is 50,000,000 carats, worth around $4,000 (£3,000) each.
Anyone else looking to invest in a supersized drill?