Diamond’s 2-billion-year growth charts tectonic shift in early Earth’s carbon cycle

Science Daily, February 23, 2017

A study of tiny mineral ‘inclusions’ within diamonds from Botswana has shown that diamond crystals can take billions of years to grow. One diamond was found to contain silicate material that formed 2.3 billion years ago in its interior and a 250 million-year-old garnet crystal towards its outer rim, the largest age range ever detected in a single specimen. Analysis of the inclusions also suggests that the way that carbon is exchanged and deposited between the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans and geosphere may have changed significantly over the past 2.5 billion years.

S. Timmerman, J.M. Koornneef, I.L. Chinn, G.R. Davies. Dated eclogitic diamond growth zones reveal variable recycling of crustal carbon through timeEarth and Planetary Science Letters, 2017; 463: 178 DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.02.001