Getting Stoned: Diamonds As Time Capsules


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Today on Getting Stoned, I want to talk about an interesting use for diamonds--as time capsules. I saw a post on LinkedIn about diamonds being used as a time capsule and wanted to learn more.

In 2003, a research team at the University of Maryland found that diamonds can be natural time capsules. They preserve information about the cycling of sulfur between Earth's crust, the atmosphere and the mantle around 3 billion years ago.

Some of the findings revealed isotopic signatures which can give us a look at aspects of Earth's early history such as the evolution of the atmosphere. The study found that diamonds in Botswana had a distinctive ratio of three isotopes of sulfur that show that these diamonds went through an almost complete geochemical cycle that started 3 billion years ago. During that time, an ancient volcano was spewing sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gases into the atmosphere.

I'll include the link to the article for further reading--it's a fascinating story of how diamonds give us a look at our planet as it was billions of years ago.

In 2019, the Independent reported that a stash of diamonds older than the moon was discovered near the Earth's core. That's a hell of a jazzy headline right there. The article said that the diamonds have been there for over 4.5 billion years until they were brought to the surface through a volcanic eruption in Brazil.

An international group of scientists studied the gems and said these gems were perfect time capsules that gave them insight to the period of time just after Earth was formed--a time when there was a lot of violent geological activity.

They were able to extract helium gas from 23 of the diamonds and pointed out that they were from an unseen reservoir known as the transition zone--between 410 and 660 kilometers below the surface of the earth.

I think that looking at diamonds as a type of time capsule is pretty unique. Imagine if they were able to talk--what type of stories would they be able to tell us?

About Getting Stoned.

Getting Stoned is a podcast about gems, minerals, and fun conversations that may go off-topic--but that’s perfectly fine. The mission of this podcast is to encourage folks to explore the wonderful world of crystals, gems, minerals, and the various ways they are used in life, technology, and more.

Sometimes I interview guests and other times I’m sharing something neat I found. If you enjoy this podcast please feel free to subscribe to my new YouTube channel, Getting Stoned Online

I also have sponsorship opportunities starting at just $1 per month. Sponsors get early access to Getting Stoned podcasts and free access to my online gem library filled with digital art and ebooks that I’ve created. Visit my website, to learn more.

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