Diamonds: The Earthen Question

Diamond Held with Tweezers

How much do you know about diamonds? It seems what we believe is far from the truth, as scientists discovered a fascinating fact about the precious stone.

Diamonds on Earth are used for many purposes, but mainly for their monetary value. You can see rows of diamonds in a pawn shop every time you visit. Alongside precious metals, such as silver and gold, diamonds are the most prized. It might be easy to think that diamonds only exist on Earth. The real answer is far more interesting.

Extraterrestrial Gems

To summarize things, diamonds are not endemic to Earth. They may form on Earth, but can also come from other places in the universe. A meteorite is a perfect example. The meteorite known as the Almahata Sitta, which exploded over the Nubian Desert in Sudan in 2008, is said to contain diamonds of a variant unlike anything on Earth.

This leads several experts to conclude that while diamonds can be ‘homegrown’, they can also come from beyond the stars. What’s interesting about the Almahata Sitta diamonds is that they’re ‘extremely tiny’. Most of the fragments are only 40 micrometers across. In comparison, a human hair strand is about 17 to 181 micrometers wide. It’s worth noting that a micrometer is one-millionths of a meter.

Another interesting thing is that the diamonds may come from a young planet that’s forming, but shattered. It’s because the diamond fragments appear to be broken, and diamonds can only form inside a geologically active, massive hunk of rock (i.e. a forming or already formed planet).

A Diamond Planet?

Perhaps this will interest you: scientists identified a planet located 4,000 light years away, which may be made entirely out of diamonds. While this isn’t technically a planet, the heavenly body is interesting since it’s the remains of a star. It’s five times larger than Earth and is purportedly made out of solid diamond.

Scientists call the planet 55 Cancri e, and it revolves around its parent star in only 18 hours. It’s obviously not a basin of life since the surface temperature averages about 3900 degrees Fahrenheit. But until NASA can send a spacecraft to cover that distance, all that glittering goodness is out of reach. What matters most is that diamonds, indeed, aren’t endemic to Earth.