Tag Archives: diamond

Russia declassifies diamond deposit – trillions of carats, enough for the entire world for 3.000 years

Russia announced the declassification of a huge diamond deposit, twice as hard as average ones, and about 10 times bigger than the global supply available today. The sensational announcement was made by Novosibirsk scientists of the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and it could detonate the entire global diamond market.

The deposit is located in a crypto-explosion structure- a hundred kilometres’ meteorite crater formed some 35 million years ago; back when they found it, in the 70s, Russian field geologists studying the place found the first evidence of the hardness of the diamonds. However, during those times, the Soviet government was determined to run a program to create synthetic diamonds, so after the initial studies were done, the data was classified and all further studies were put to a halt. However, now, over 40 years later, geologists and geophysicists believe there are enough diamonds to overturn the entire market.


“The resources of super-hard diamonds contained in rocks of the Popigai crypto-explosion structure, are by a factor of ten bigger than the world’s all known reserves. We are speaking about trillions of carats, for comparison – present-day known reserves in Yakutia are estimated at one billion carats,” he said.

Aside from the immensity of the deposit and hardness, the diamonds are also special due to their large grain size; diamonds with similar properties have not been found anywhere else in the world, and this is most likely associated with the violent birth of the field. These properties also mean they can be extremely useful for industrial purposes, especially in the creation of semiconductors and drills.

Many major corporations have already taken an interest in this massive discovery, but the Russian government will probably want to keep as much of the pie as they can.

Mirny diamond mine in Russia – unrelated, but good to get an idea about what a Russian diamond mine looks like


Candle light

A candle’s flame burns millions of diamond nano-particles every second

Candle lightDiamonds are for a nano-second – in the glitter of a candle light, that is. In a stroke of brilliance, Professor Wuzong Zhou, Professor of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, has found millions of diamond nano-particles in the flickering light of a simple candle.

Since its invention in China thousands of years ago, people have always been fascinated by the candle’s light, inspiring numerous thinkers with its brilliant halo. Zhou’s research has unraveled the mystery that has baffled men for all these years.

As it burns, 1.5 million diamond particles are created every second within its flame. It was already known that at the candle flame’s base hydro-carbon molecules existed, which were ultimately converted into carbon dioxide by the top of the flame. However, the process in between these two states was up to now unbeknownst to scientists.

Professor Zhou, assisted by one of his students Mr Zixue Su, used a novel sampling technique, he developed himself, was able to extract particles from within the middle of the flame for studying. Much to his surprise, he found that a candle flame contains all four known forms of carbon. The whole event is a premier success, after other failed attempts by scientists in the past. Curiously enough, Professor Zhou entered this endevour after he received a challenge from a fellow scientist in combustion.

“A colleague at another university said to me: “Of course no-one knows what a candle flame is actually made of.

“I told him I believed science could explain everything eventually, so I decided to find out,” Dr Zhou said.

As such, there were discovered diamond nanoparticles and fullerenic particles, along with graphitic and amorphous carbon. Dr. Zhou believes that his research might funnel advances towards a better understanding and manufacturing of diamonds, a critical material in the industry. Cheaper, more environmental friendly alternatives might be developed.

Dr Zhou added: “Unfortunately the diamond particles are burned away in the process, and converted into carbon dioxide, but this will change the way we view a candle flame forever.”

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The star-diamond

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!

Well maybe the title is a bit far fetched, but I’m really stoked to find out about such a thing; the star in case, BPM 37093 is a variable white dwarf star that consists entirely of crystallized carbon, in the form of diamonds (well, technically speaking, body-centered cubic lattice of carbon; basically, crystallized in the cubic system).

Previous research had indicated that as a white dwarf cools, it crystallizes, starting from the center, and more recent work shows that about 90% of its mass has already done so, making it technically the biggest diamond we know of, at about 10 billion trillion trillion carats.

Astrophysicists nicknamed the star Lucy, after The Beatles song Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Man, you just gotta love astrophysicists.

Crystal That Nature May Have Missed

For a lot of time man kind or at least a big part of it has been absolutely fascinated with the diamond and its fantastic glimmer. The reasons which account for its stunning beauty could be uncovered by a mathematical analysis of its microscopic crystal structure. It turns out that this structure has some very special, and especially symmetric, properties. In fact, as mathematician Toshikazu Sunada explains in an article appearing in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society out of an infinite universe of mathematical crystals, only one other shares these properties with the diamond, a crystal that he calls the “K4 crystal”. It is not known whether the K4 crystal exists in nature or could be synthesized.

You can create an idealized version of a crystal by focusing on its main features, namely, the atoms and the bonds between them; an atom is going to be represented by a dot which we will call “vertices”, and the bonds are represented as lines, which we will call “edges”. Thus you can create a network of vertices and edges which is called a “graph”. A crystal is built up by starting with a building-block graph and joining together copies of itself in a periodic fashion.

There are two patterns operating in a crystal: The pattern of edges connecting vertices in the building-block graphs (that is, the pattern of bonding relations between the atoms), and the periodic pattern joining the copies of the graphs. One can create infinitely many mathematical crystals this way, by varying the graphs and by varying the way they are joined periodically. But a diamond has two characteristics which distinguish it from the others.

  • The first is called “maximal symmetry” and it concerns the symmetry of the arrangement of the building-block graphs. Some arrangements have more symmetry than others, and if one starts with any given arrangement, one can deform it, while maintaining periodicity and the bonding relations between the atoms, to make it more symmetrical. Amazing but there is no deformation of the periodic arrangement can make it any more symmetrical than it is. As Sunada puts it, the diamond crystal has maximal symmetry.
  • But think and you are going to find out that basically any crystal could be deformed into a crystal with maximal symmetry, so that property alone does not distinguish the diamond crystal. There is another thing which is named “the strong isotropic property”. This property resembles the rotational symmetry that characterizes the circle and the sphere: No matter how you rotate a circle or a sphere, it always looks the same. Just rotate it from the direction of one edge to another and it is going to look just the same
  • Out of every crystal which could be theoretically created just one shares with the diamond these two properties. Sunada calls this the K4 crystal, because it is made out of a graph called K4, which consists of 4 points, in which any two vertices are connected by an edge.

    “The K4 crystal looks no less beautiful than the diamond crystal,” Sunada writes. “Its artistic structure has intrigued me for some time.”

    At the moment it exists just in mathematic but creating it is not so far-fetched as you could think; it is very tempting to ask whether it might occur in nature or could be synthesized. After all The Fullerene, which has the structure of a soccer ball (technically called a truncated icosahedron), was identified as a mathematical object before it was found, in 1990, to occur in nature as the C60 molecule.