A schist in the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a geologist's best friend.
The scientists found unprecedented mineral in the diamond, formed deep in the Earth's mantle.
While rare to human eyes, calcium silicate perovskite may be shockingly ordinary deep inside the Earth - in fact, it's thought to be the fourth most abundant mineral inside the planet, especially prevalent in slabs of oceanic crust that have plunged into the planet's mantle at tectonic boundaries. But since nobody has been able to keep the mineral stable at accessible depths, it has proven very hard to study.
Diamonds can form up to 400 miles beneath the Earth's surface, but materials trapped within them don't always survive up to the surface.
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"Based on our findings, there could be as much as zetta tonnes (1021) of this perovskite in deep Earth", co-author Graham Pearson, who is a professor in the University of Alberta's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said in a statement.
Cullinan Mine is known as the source of some of the world's largest diamonds. But as Michelle Starr of Science Alert reports, researchers have found a piece of CaSiO3 that managed to make it close to the surface of the Earth, encased in a tiny diamond.
"The diamonds that most people have as jewelry come from around about 200 kilometres depth, which is very deep", Pearson said.
"Diamonds are really unique ways of seeing what's in the Earth", Pearson said. "The specific composition of the perovskite inclusion in this particular diamond...provides fundamental proof of what happens to the fate of oceanic plates as they descend into the depths of the Earth", Pearson explained.
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Another major discovery made in 2014, also involving diamonds, was finding ringwoodite, which is the fifth most abundant mineral on Earth.
The mantle in one of the Earth's underground layers and is formed by very hot rocks which are exposed to a tremendous pressure. Results of the scientists' analysis show that while Ice VII is solid while it is on the surface of the Earth, inside the mantle, it is actually liquid.
It is true that the history of the planet Earth has been only recorded partially.
The research team behind the discovery didn't set out to find a new form of ice, but it turns out that at least a few diamonds harbor ice-VII - ice that is around one and a half times as dense as the ice we're used to, and boasting a different crystalline structure in atoms as well.
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This particular water crystal is formed in laboratories under high pressure but the ice described in the new study published in the journal Science is the first known natural sample. Its lead author was Fabrizio Nestola from the University of Padova, Italy.