Powerful synchrotron light confirms the presence of rare diamond in stony meteorites


Australian and worldwide researchers have used ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron to verify the presence of an uncommon diamond present in stony meteorites.

The ureilite meteorites include a uncommon hexagonal type of diamond, lonsdaleite, that will have been fashioned shortly after an historical dwarf planet collided with a big asteroid about 4.5 billion years in the past.

The workforce of scientists from Monash University, RMIT University, CSIRO, the Australian Synchrotron and Plymouth University confirmed the existence of lonsdaleite and clarified the way it was fashioned in a paper within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal. The examine was led by geologist Professor Andy Tomkins from Monash University.

Beamline scientists Dr Andrew Langendam and Dr Helen Brand assisted the workforce with experiments on the powder diffraction beamline.

pnas.2208814119fig03

Mineral maps highlighting the partial alternative of lonsdaleite by diamond  Copyright: Authors Sequential Lonsdaleite to Diamond Formation in Ureilite Meteorites through In Situ Chemical Fluid/Vapor Deposition PNAS  119 (38) e2208814119

“Information that indicated the presence of lonsdaleite was gained by other methods but what was needed most was confirmation of lonsdaleite,” defined Dr Langendam.

“Our powder diffraction beamline is ready to differentiate complicated mineral phases, equivalent to these discovered within the meteorites.

“X-ray diffraction revealed a series of peaks representing pyroxene, goethite, olivine and lonsdaleite,” he added.

“Because our team has worked extensively with meteorites, we were able to distinguish the lonsdaleite from diamond and from the other minerals despite their smeared peaks, created by structural variability.”

The analysis workforce recommended that the bizarre construction of lonsdaleite may assist inform new manufacturing methods for ultra-hard supplies in mining purposes. 

Read extra on the RMIT web site

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2208814119

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