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Davemaoite found in Earth Surface

Scientists have for the first time identified a never before seen mineral in a diamond mined from beneath the Earth’s surface. The mineral, Calcium silicate perovskite, is formed as a result of the high-pressure and temperature conditions found in the lower mantle. The mineral has been named Davemaoite.

The mineral, named after geophysicist Ho-kwang (Dave) Mao for his studies on high-pressure elements, has a crystalline structure that is formed under high pressure and temperature conditions found only deep inside the Earth’s layer trapped between the core and the crust. Scientists had long predicted its existence just not on the surface.

In a study published in Science, researchers said that Calcium silicate perovskite, CaSiO3, is arguably the most geochemically important phase in the lower mantle because it holds elements that are incompatible in the upper mantle. Chemical analysis of the mineral showed the presence of radioactive isotopes of uranium, thorium and potassium inside it.

The study was led by Oliver Tschauner of the Department of Geoscience, the University of Nevada, researchers studied a greenish,  octahedral-shaped diamond dug up from the world’s largest opencast diamond mine, the Orapa mine in Botswana. According to Nature, the diamond was then sold to George Rossman, a mineralogist at the California Institute of Technology, and Tschauner began studying it for an investigation into minerals trapped in deep-Earth diamonds.

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