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Super deep earthquakes may be explained by inclusions in super-deep diamonds
diamond rocks earth research
Credit: Sementer /

New research conducted at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. is looking at super-deep diamonds to explain earthquakes rumbling deep under the Earth’s surface. According to a report in, a liquid found inside diamonds in the area could answer some pressing questions about the phenomena.


The Secret Answer Inside Diamond Inclusions


Scientists, led by the institute’s senior geochemist Steven Shirey, know that earthquakes happen in the area that divides Earth’s upper mantle from the lower mantle, also known as the “transition zone”.


It is long thought that liquid in this area has a part in driving these earthquakes, but its mere presence still has to be proven. Now, the Carnegie scientists think that super-deep diamonds, formed 600 to 800 km below the surface, may hold evidence of the elusive liquid.


Last Diamond Unearthed report
Credit: Fancy Color Research Foundation


Inside these super-deep diamonds are inclusions, or flaws, made by fluids. These flaws reveal that liquid is probably flowing in the deep mantle layers where the diamonds originally crystallized – the same liquid that Shirey and his colleagues think may give the answer to understanding these deep earthquakes.


Using information about the locations in which the super-deep diamonds were formed, Shirey and his colleagues are building models that show the movement of the fluid in the mantle transition zone.


Diamond crystal South Africa
Credit: Matteo Chinellato /


Eventually, they hope that these models will help them “connect the dots among fluid movement into the deep mantle, diamond formation and the physical rupture properties of the rocks in that region of the mantle-transition zone”.

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