Monday, 23 December 2013

Diamonds in Antarctica!

Catching up on geology in the news this afternoon and an article called 'New findings hint at diamond deposits in Antarctica' caught me eye.

Research soon to be published in Nature details how diamond bearing rocks called kimberlites have been found in small amounts at Mount Meredith in the northern Prince Charles Mountains, shown on the map below.

Kimberlite rocks are igneous rocks which form at depths of 150 km to 450km depth. They are erupted very rapidly and violently often with the release of carbon dioxide and other volatile gases. The rocks are the source of not just diamonds but also other precious stones such as garnet and spinel.

Although the potential for mining diamonds in Antarctica might exist, there are international laws which currently prevent any exploitation of mineral resources in Antarctica except for scientific purposes. One such act is the 'Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty'. So for now we will just have to wait and see, I guess we won't truely know what lies beneath the vast ice sheets of Antarctica until the majority of the ice has melted, and that will be a while...

For further reading try these links below:

Happy Reading!

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