Kimberlite rocks containing diamonds discovered in East Antarctica

Kimberlite rocks containing diamonds discovered at Mount Meredith in East Antarctica by the researchers.

Created On: Dec 20, 2013 12:30 ISTModified On: Dec 20, 2013 12:43 IST

A new type of Kimberlite rocks that are believed to be containing diamonds was discovered by the researchers in Antarctica. Kimberlite deposits were discovered around Mount Meredith in the Prince Charles Mountains in East Antarctica.

The discovery was reported in the journal Nature Communications by an Australian-led team on 18 December 2013.

The kimberlites deposits discovered lie near the margins of the Lambert rift, an enormous, transcontinental rift that crosses much of Antarctica.

Researchers, however, believe that the commercialization of such find would not be possible. The reason cited by the geologists among others includes Antarctica’s remoteness, cold and winter darkness. Further, less than 10 percent of deposits of similar kimberlite were economically viable.

Despite the possibility of Antarctic diamonds, the search for Antarctica diamonds would have to be put off due to the existence of an environment accord signed in 1991 under the Antarctica Treaty of 1963.  

The environment accord of 1991 bans mining in Antarctica region for at least 50 years so as to achieve the objective of Antarctica Treaty.

The Antarctica Treaty signed by 50 nations serves to protect its wildlife, from its native seals.

The kimberlite deposit was also the confirmation of how continents drift. The region of East Antarctica was once part of a continent known as Gondwana connected to what is now Africa and India, which also have kimberlite.

About Kimberlite Rocks
• The blue-tinged Kimberlite rocks are a rare type of rock named after the South African town of Kimberley.
• These rocks are supposed to be rich in diamond deposits.
• Diamonds are formed under immense heat and pressure around 160-km below the Earth’s surface in the mantle layer. Mantle layer of the planet is sandwiched between the outer crust and the core.
• Diamonds are nature's hardest material. However, two other rare natural substances are harder — wurtzite boron nitride, which is formed during intense volcanic eruptions, and lonsdaleite, which is sometimes created when meteorites hit Earth.


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