Microscopic Lonsdaleite Diamonds Are From SpaceSeptember 20, 22
(IDEX Online) - Scientists in Australia say they have proof that microscopic diamonds were formed in space.
They say lonsdaleite, a rare diamond smaller than the width of a human hair were formed when a dwarf planet collided with a large asteroid about 4.5 billion years ago.
Diamonds found on Earth have a cubic structure, but these are hexagonal, which makes them even stronger than normal diamonds.
A joint research team of academics from Monash University, RMIT University, CSIRO, the Australian Synchrotron and Plymouth University used advanced electron microscopy techniques to understand the differences between the way lonsdaleite and regular diamonds formed.
"There's strong evidence that there's a newly discovered formation process for the lonsdaleite and regular diamond, which is like a supercritical chemical vapour deposition process that has taken place in these space rocks, probably in the dwarf planet shortly after a catastrophic collision," said Professor Dougal McCulloch, of RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology).
Lonsdaleite is is found in meteorite debris when meteors containing graphite strike the Earth.
Pic, courtesy RMIT University, shows Professor Andy Tomkins (left) from Monash University with RMIT University PhD scholar Alan Salek and a meteor sample.