New mineral discovered in the heart of a diamond in Botswana

A group of American researchers recently made an incredible discovery: that of davemaoite. Published in the scientific journal Science On Thursday, this discovery came as a real surprise to scientists because it is a new mineral that had never before been seen on the surface of the Earth, reports Geo. A very small amount of this mineral was found in a Botswana diamond that originally formed nearly 660 kilometers below the earth’s surface.

“The davemaoite sample contained in the diamond was only a few micrometers in size,” said lead author Oliver Tschauner of the University of Nevada’s geosciences department. To be able to determine the presence of the mineral, the researchers used high-energy x-ray analysis of the mineral. “By measuring the angle and intensity of the returning light, researchers can decipher what is inside,” says the scientist.

Better understand the Earth’s mantle

If the existence of such a mineral had already been theoretically analyzed, scientists did not believe that it would be possible to find it on the earth’s surface. Davemaoite is formed only under high pressure and high temperature. In addition, this mineral generally breaks down into other minerals on the way up, which had hitherto prevented formal proof of its existence from being obtained.

This discovery, confirmed by the International Association of Mineralogy, could thus allow researchers to better understand the functioning of the Earth’s mantle. “Davemaoite could help generate a significant amount of heat in the mantle,” says Oliver Tschauner. Determining where it originally formed has also given new clues to refine research aimed at discovering other new minerals that also make up the Earth’s mantle.

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