James St. John CC BY 2.0

Diamonds Kimberlite_Field_James St. John CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A diamond containing a never-before-seen form of calcium silicate (CaSi03) and traces of titanium sheds light on the composition and dynamics of the Earth’s inner workings. Although scientists have theorized that this form of CaSi03 is widespread within the planet, the mineral remains stable at only extremely high pressures—such as those found at depths below 600 kilometres—or when protected within a diamond that originates that far down in the Earth. The mineral’s structure, presence of titanium, and diamond’s composition indicate the material that makes up the oceans’ floors recycles to the Earth’s lower mantle.

Canadian co-authors: Nestor Korolev, University of British Columbia – nkorolev@eoas.ubc.ca; Maya Kopylova, University of British Columbia –  mkopylova@eos.ubc.ca; Graham Pearson, University of Alberta – graham.pearson@ualberta.ca

Original paper published March 7, 2018