Pink diamonds, known for their exceptional beauty and value, have long been a geological mystery due to their rarity and unique geographic location in Australia. Now, a team of Australian researchers has revealed the “secret” behind this oddity in a study recently published in the journal Nature Communications.
More than 90% of all pink diamonds in the world are mined from the Argyle mine in northwest Australia. However, its presence in this location, near the sea, rather than in areas far from the coast, such as South Africa and Russia, has baffled scientists for years.
The study reveals that these rare diamonds were formed approximately 1.3 billion years ago due to the breakup of Earth’s first supercontinent, known as Nuna or Columbia. Two key ingredients were necessary for its creation: carbon, which is found deep in the Earth, and colossal pressure, which is what gives it its characteristic pink color.
Carbon at great depth is found in the form of graphite, which does not have the appeal of a diamond in a wedding ring. However, under a specific pressure, carbon turns into a pink diamond instead of turning brown.
Researchers explain that the colossal pressure needed to shape these pink diamonds originated during collisions between the Western and Northern Australian landmasses about 1.8 billion years ago. The subsequent fracturing of Nuna or Columbia, 500 million years later, allowed the magma to rise, bringing the pink diamonds with it to the surface.
This discovery raises new questions about the possibility of finding pink diamonds in other geological areas related to this fracture of the supercontinent. Although some experts suggest that Argyle could remain unique in this regard, it opens the door to the possibility of future finds of these coveted natural treasures in other parts of the world.