Trillions of Carats Found in Meteorite Crater

CraterRussian scientists have recently disclosed that they have been sitting on a gigantic deposit of diamonds in Siberia for decades. Estimated to be in the trillions of carats, the deposit has an unusual origin as it is the only known source to be formed by sudden impact.

It is not a coincidence that this deposit of diamond-laden rock is part of an ancient impact crater. The Popigai crater, the seventh largest on Earth with a 62-mile diameter, was formed around 35 million years ago when an asteroid collided with the area that is now known as Siberia. At this location the ground was rich in graphite, a form of pure carbon that can be transformed into diamond through a process of high heat and temperature.

The conventional process of how diamonds are made is when carbon is subjected to the intense temperature and pressure conditions found in some spots deep inside the Earth’s mantle, which takes somewhere from 1 – 3.3 billion years! However, by eliciting the same high temperatures and pressures via an explosive shockwave when extraterrestrial material crashes into a carbon-rich area of Earth’s surface, the process is shortened. Diamonds that are formed in this manner are known as impact diamonds and are nearly twice as hard as other diamonds and unusually abrasive. Their appearance makes them unsuitable for jewelry, but the physical properties make it very ideal to use for industrial purposes.

Since diamonds like these don’t exist in large quantities anywhere else in the world, Russia is excited to hold a monopoly on enough impact diamonds to supply the world for what they estimate to be another 3,000 years. According to a Russian news agency, “Use of these minerals in the manufacturing industry is capable of a technical revolution”. I guess we will all have to wait and see!