Cosmic diamonds formed during the collision of giant planets


Planetary collision formed solar system

Artist’s impression of two protoplanets colliding. Credit: NASA / SOFIA / Lynette Cook

The international research team solves the theory of how diamonds form inside the protoplanate.

Geologists at Goethe University have found the largest extraterrestrial diamonds discovered so far – a few tenths of a millimeter in size – inside meteorites. Together with an international team of researchers, they are now able to prove that these diamonds were formed in the early stages of our solar system when minor planets collided together or larger asteroids. These new data refute the theory that they originated deep inside planets – similar to diamonds on Earth – at least the size of Mercury.

It is estimated that more than 10 million asteroids are circling the Earth in the asteroid belt. They are remnants of the early days of our solar system, when our planets burst out of a large cloud of gas and dust that revolves around the sun. When asteroids fall out of orbit, they sometimes fall towards the Earth in the form of meteorites. If they are large enough, they do not burn completely when they enter the atmosphere and can be found as meteorites. Geological studies of such meteorites make it possible to not only draw conclusions about the growth and development of planets in the solar system, but also cause their extinction.

Uralite Minor Planet Rock Specimen

A picture of a rock sample from the Ureilite minor planet, found as a meteorite in the Sahara. Length of piece about 2 cm. Sincerely: Oliver Christ

A special type of meteorites are ureters. These are fragments of a large celestial body – perhaps a minor planet – that was broken into pieces through violent collisions with other smaller planets or larger asteroids. As graphite or nanodiamonds, many others often contain large amounts of carbon in urilites. Diamonds can no longer be discovered on a scale of 0.1 and more millimeters when meteorites hit the Earth. With such huge energies, impact events completely evaporate meteorites. This is why until now it was believed that these large diamonds – similar to those in the interior of the Earth – would be formed by constant pressure in the shape of the planet’s precursors Mars Or Mercury.

NWA 7983 Uralite Meteorite

Color codeine Raman spectroscopic maps have been studied. Diamond (red), graphite (blue). Credit: Siren Goodrich

Together with scientists from Italy, the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Sudan, Goeth University researchers have found and analyzed in detail the largest diamonds ever discovered in urelites from Morocco and Sudan . In addition to diamonds up to several 100 micrometers in size, several nests of diamonds on the nanometer scale as well as nanogites were found in the urethra. Closer analysis showed that what are known as lonsdaleite layers are present in nanodaymonds, a modification of diamonds that occurs only through sudden, very high pressures. In addition, other minerals (silicates) in the ureter rocks under examination exhibit characteristic signs of shock pressure. In the end, it was the presence of these large diamonds, as well as the nanodymonds and nanogite that led to success.

Professor Frank Brenker of the Department of Geology at Goethe University explains:

“Our extensive new studies show that these unusual supernatural diamonds are formed through enormous shock pressure when a large asteroid or even a minor planetary diuretic smashed into the original body surface. This is possible in every way That it was precisely such a large impact that eventually led to the complete destruction of the minor planet. This means – contrary to earlier assumptions – that large ureteral diamonds are not an indication that Mars or Mercury’s size was the earliest of our solar system Was present in, but still in spite of the dominant, destructive forces at the time. ”

References: Fabrizio Nestola, Sairana A. Goodrich, Marta Morana, Anna Barborough, Ryan S. Jakbek, Oliver Christ, Frank Brenker, m. Chiara Domenegetti, m. Mateo Alvaro, Ana M., “The Origin of the Effect of Diamonds in Uralite” by Chiara Dalconi. Fioretti, Constantin D. Litsov, Mark D. Fries, Matteo Leoni, Nicola PM Kasati, Peter Janiskens and Muvia H. Shadad, 28 September 2020,
DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.1919067117

The international research team consists of scientists from the following institutions:

  • Department of Geoscience, University of Padova, Italy
  • Department of Geology, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Lunar and Planetary Institute, USRA, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia, Italy
  • Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division, Jacobs Jets, Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston, Texas, United States
  • CNR Institute of Geoscience and Earth Resources, Padua, Italy
  • Versachine Institute for High Pressure Physics RAS, Trotsk, Moscow, Russia
  • NASA Astrometrics Acquisition and Curation Office, Johnson Space Center, NASA, Houston, Texas, USA
  • Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Italy
  • Saudi Aramco R&D Center, Dharhar, Saudi Arabia
  • Swiss Light Source, Paul Schreer Institute, Villegen, Switzerland
  • SETI Institute, Mountain View, California, United States
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy, Khartoum, Khartoum, University of Sudan

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