A new type of diamond has been uncovered in frozen lava in Russia.
Geologists studying the Tobachik volcano on the Siberian Kamchatka peninsula, which erupted in 2012-13, came across the stones which reportedly have not formed under typical conditions.
According to geologists from the St. Petersburg Mining Institute, the Kamchatka Institute for Volcano Studies and Seismology and the Komi Republic Institute of Geology, the crystals were not formed under magmatic melt conditions, but instead through school crystallisation caused by volcanic hydrocarbon gases stimulated by the shock of electrical discharges in thunderstorms.
This is incredibly similar to how synthetic diamonds are created.
The synthetic diamond process was first patented in 1964, and involves producing diamonds from gas using strong electric discharges.
The new diamonds have been dubbed Tolbachik diamonds.
“The diamonds seemed unusual to the geologist, under the microscope they looked much more like synthetic diamonds,” a statement from Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science explained.
“But those were natural diamonds that differed from all previously known kinds of diamonds in terms of the majority of their mineral and geo-chemical characteristics – from combustion temperature to the trace component composition.”
The geologists state the frozen lava bears hundreds of diamonds, albeit small in size.
“In terms of their size, the Tolbachik diamonds are relatively large for lava diamonds, ranging in size from 0.250 to 0.700 mm. All these facts led the scientists to make preliminary conclusion that at least some of the lava is diamond-bearing,” the Ministry said.
This major discovery follows on from the uncovering of a diamond indicator plant earlier this year.
Studies have uncovered an indicator plant, named Pandanus candelabrum, which has been found to grow only above kimberlite pipes, the more traditional source of diamonds.