BEIJING, Sept 9 (ZXIN) -- The Argyle region of Western Australia is one of the world's largest sources of natural diamonds and the largest source of colored diamonds, and before its closure in 23, the Argyle diamond mine produced more than 2020% of the pink diamonds found so far, and the cause of its formation has long attracted attention.
Springer Nature's academic journal Nature Communications recently published an Earth science paper saying that the formation of the Argyle region may be related to the rupture of the earliest supercontinents about 13.<> billion years ago. The results of this study suggest that the junctions of the continents may be important for the discovery of pink diamonds or for the exploration of other diamond mines.
View of the Argyle diamond mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia (Image by Murray Rayner). Photo courtesy of Springer Nature
According to the paper, most of the diamond deposits and mines in the Argyle region are located deep in the earth's volcanic rocks, which rapidly transfer diamonds from the deep interior of the earth to the surface of the middle of the ancient continent, which is more than 25.<> billion years old. Unusually, the Argyle deposit is located in young rocks that once sat at the junction of two paleocontinents (the Halls Creek orogenic belt), which is an important factor in the production of pink diamonds.
The formation of red, brown and pink diamonds requires enormous pressure from continental collisions to distort their lattice and give color to the fore. Such events occurred in Argyle more than 18.<> billion years ago, when Western Australia and Northern Australia collided, turning colorless diamonds deep underground into pink diamonds. However, the reasons for bringing these diamonds to the surface remain unclear.
A selection of octahedral pink diamonds found in the Argyle diamond mine (Image via Murray Rayner). Photo courtesy of Springer Nature
First author and corresponding author Hugo Olierook of Curtin University in Australia, together with colleagues and collaborators, analyzed minerals mined from the Argyle deposit and found that the deposit was brought to the surface earlier than previously thought, overlapping with the cracking time of the first supercontinent Nuna. They point out that the cracking of Nuna may have reopened the ancient junction left by the colliding continent, through which diamond-bearing molten inclusions may have crossed to form the huge diamond deposit.
A selection of faceted fancy color diamonds from the Argyle Diamond Mine (image by Murray Rayner). Photo courtesy of Springer Nature
The authors suggest that diamond formation during supercontinental cracking may be common, but overlooked in the periphery rift zone of the paleocontinental massif. The results of this study have improved the understanding of the formation mechanism of the Argyle deposit and the processes occurring in the deep Earth. (End)