Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Russia reveals diamond source under asteroid crater.

The Popigai crater "astrobleme" in Siberia is tied with the Manicouagan Crater as the seventh largest impact crater on Earth.

A bolide roughly 10km in size impacted and created the 100km (62 mi) diameter crater 36 million years ago. The crater is 880 km (550 mi) NE of Norilsk.

The shock pressures from the impact instantaneously transformed any graphite within a 13.6 km (8.5 mi) radius of the impact point into diamonds. So called "impact diamonds" may have attractive properties for industrial and scientific uses but are considered unsuitable as gems.

Since the mid 1950s, Russia's diamond industry was fuelled by the colossal mine at Mirny, in Yakutia, which produced immense profits for the country for over half a century.

4,300km from Moscow, the mine yielded diamonds worth at least $17bn over it's lifetime.
The Russian state diamond company Alrosa seeks a new source and revival to the diamond industry at Popigai Astroblem.
The impact at Popigai created a mixture of traditional, gem-quality cubic diamonds and "lonsdaleite," tiny yellow-brown crystals with atoms arranged in hexagons. They have the density, hardness, and brightness of the diamonds we know but not much else.