A Diamond Trilogy: Superplumes, Supercontinents, and Supernovae

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Science  06 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5429, pp. 851-860
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5429.851

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Diamond is a remarkable mineral and has been long recognized for its unusual physical and chemical properties: robust and widespread in industry, yet regally adorned. This diversity is even greater than formally appreciated because diamond is recognized as an extraordinary recorder of astrophysical and geodynamic events that extend from the far reaches of space to Earth's deep interior. Many diamonds are natural antiques that formed in presolar supernovae by carbon vapor deposition, in asteroidal impacts and meteorite craters by shock metamorphism, and in Earth's mantle 1 to 2 billion years after planetary accretion from fluids and melts. The carbon in diamond is primordial, but there are unexplained isotopic fractionations and uncertainties in heterogeneity.

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