Extraordinary Discovery: Antarctica Could be Full of Diamonds

An extraordinary discovery has opened the possibility of a new diamond rush in the coldest continent in the world - Antarctica.

In a scientific paper published a while ago in the journal "Nature Communications", a team of researchers announced that they found kimberlite in the Prince Charles Mountains of East Antarctica, according to The Australian.

Kimberlite is a stone that is rarely found near the Earth's surface because it forms deep in the Earth's mantle where conditions also tend to favor the formation of diamonds.

Although no diamonds were found in the sample, the chemical signature of the minerals matches that of other places on the planet where diamonds were found.

It is believed that the rocks were pushed to the surface more than 120 million years ago when much of today's world (Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, South America, the Indian subcontinent, Australia, and Antarctica) was part of a supercontinent known as Gondwana.
Extraordinary Discovery: Antarctica Could be Full of Diamonds
Kimberlite outcrops then dotted central Gondwana. The continental plates that made it up were removed at one point, which would explain why diamonds were found in such diverse and remote places, from Brazil to southern Africa and India.

Will We See a Diamond Rush in Antarctica?

If there really are diamonds in the mountains of Antarctica, then there is a chance to see the diamond chase of the 21st century.

The name "kimberlite" comes from the South African town of Kimberley, which was created due to a diamond rush. In 1871, a cook found a huge stone while digging on a farm, and within a year, about 50,000 prospectors were there, digging feverishly and creating a makeshift tent city.

A treaty protecting Antarctica was signed in 1961, and in 1991 it was updated by an environmental protocol, Article 7 of which expressly prohibits "any activity relating to mineral resources". The 1991 pact will have to be revised in 2048, 50 years after it entered into force. The treaty was ratified by 35 nations.

But if speculation about diamonds comes true, it's hard to believe that states will wait until 2048 without changing the treaty.

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