A group of scientists found a method to classify rare minerals into four categories that may explain why some diamonds are so impossibly rare. The four criteria are the four major reasons the royal stones are so hard to be found.
A study on the findings was recently published in the journal American Mineralogist.
From the study we learned that there are only 700 locations across the planet where diamonds are extracted. But some of the minerals are so rare that they can be found just in a handful of places. Take for instance the beautiful pink diamond cobaltomenite. It is currently mined in just four locations: Congo, Bolivia, Argentina, and Utah.
Study authors noted that all the cobaltomenite in the world could fill just a shot glass.
Researchers explained that some diamonds are so rare because they need specific conditions to form such as constant pressures or extremely rare combinations of elements in the Earth’s crust.
Additionally, some diamonds do not last long. Some stones are easily dissolved by rain, while others cannot withstand UV radiation and vanish in the sunlight. Plus, some other precious stones can only form in locations that are impossible to reach such as the deep sea or edges of active volcanoes.
Another extremely rare diamond is fingerite which is mined from the top of an active volcano in El Savlador. Geologists described the stone as the “perfect storm of rarity” because it needs specific elements to be around at the same time to form. Plus, it needs specific temperature and pressure conditions to emerge and it is dissolved by rain.
Robert Hazen, lead author of the study and mineralogist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, explained that the formation of rare elements relies on extreme processes that are based on biology. He noted that life at the surface of the Earth can greatly influence diamond formation deep beneath.
Another extremely rare diamond is the hazenite, which was only extracted from a lake in California desert. Miners said that they noticed they can find the rare mineral only in some specific days throughout the year.
This is because phosphorous levels in the lake which is usually dry all year long can grow so dangerously high in dry seasons that they can be life threatening to some microorganisms that dwell on the lakebed. As a response the tiny animals literally poop hazenite crystals.
“People tell me, ‘Hazenite happens,'”
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