In a jaw-dropping revelation that might make your head spin, pink diamonds, those gems of rare beauty, along with the world’s largest diamond mine, could have their roots tangled in the dramatic breakup of an ancient supercontinent known as Nuna. Hold onto your hats, because this revelation comes courtesy of a freshly minted article published in the esteemed scientific journal Nature Communications.
Titled “Emplacement of the Argyle diamond deposit into an ancient rift zone triggered by supercontinent breakup,” this mind-bending article hit the stands on September 19. Leading the charge is none other than the brilliant Dr. Hugo Olierook, a research fellow hailing from Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Picture him as the Sherlock Holmes of geology.
Now, let’s zoom in on the star of our show—the Argyle Diamond Mine, now resting in quiet repose in northern Western Australia. It’s a tale of discovery, glitter, and ultimately, closure. Pink diamonds, the stuff of legend, first winked into existence at this very site in 1983, as revealed by the Argyle Pink Diamonds website. This mine, a veritable diamond juggernaut, held the crown as the world’s foremost source of natural diamonds until the curtains fell in 2020.
Dr. Olierook and his team, armed with laser beams as fine as a human hair’s width, have managed to turn back the clock on the Argyle Diamond Mine’s age, pegging it at a whopping 1.3 billion years—100 million years older than the textbooks dared to whisper. And here’s the kicker: this staggering age suggests that it owes its existence to a colossal ancient supercontinent falling apart at the seams.
Picture this: eons ago, in a geological ballet of epic proportions, the Kimberley region and the rest of northern Australia collided with the force of titans, leaving a lasting “scar” etched in the Earth’s skin. This cosmic tango stretched and tore the land, forming rifts that became highways for magma to thrust pink diamonds into the limelight.
The secret sauce, Dr. Olierook explains, was a magical mixture of deep carbon, continental collisions, and a dash of cosmic stretching. This tantalizing recipe birthed a bounty of diamonds that would make King Solomon green with envy.
Hold onto your gem-studded hats, because the story doesn’t end there. Dr. Olierook suggests that similar glittering treasure troves might yet lay hidden beneath our feet. You see, most diamond mines are found smack in the middle of ancient continents because their volcanic hosts strut their stuff at the surface, ready to be discovered. But Argyle, it’s perched on the edge, often veiled by layers of sand and soil, hiding the possibility of more of those precious pink diamonds waiting to be unearthed, right here in Australia.
Now, let’s pause and take a moment to appreciate the allure of these pink gems. They’re like the unicorns of the diamond world—rare, coveted, and oh-so-spectacular. The Argyle Diamond Mine claimed the throne, boasting a staggering 90% share of the global pink diamond market, proudly parading its iconic spectrum like a peacock in a diamond-studded garden.
But here’s the kicker: even though Argyle pumped out more pink diamonds than you could shake a jewel-encrusted stick at, these gems remained as scarce as hen’s teeth. Of the approximately 15 million carats of rough diamonds that danced out of the Argyle Diamond Mine’s depths each year, a meager 1% would blush pink.
Fox News Digital did what any curious soul would do and reached out to Dr. Olierook, hoping for more gems of wisdom on this earth-shattering revelation.
Meanwhile, Science News, ever the inquisitive spirit, pondered the mysteries that still shroud the Argyle formation and its precious pink diamonds. To turn a diamond pink, you’d need more than your run-of-the-mill mantle conditions. You’d need something as powerful as a hurricane reshaping its crystal structure, playing with the way it dances with light. It’s a puzzle that’s left geologists scratching their heads for ages.
In the grand finale, our beloved Argyle Diamond Mine took a bow in late 2020, having exhausted its riches of economically viable diamonds. The final curtain call for a legendary gem haven.
So, there you have it, a story as deep and captivating as the diamonds themselves—of ancient supercontinents, cosmic collisions, and the allure of those rare, blushing gems that continue to mesmerize us.