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India Could Be Sitting on Untouched Diamonds

August 16, 2013

Diamond Mine

photo by soundog via Flickr

Roughly 100 miles underground, massive amounts of heat and pressure crystallize carbon into diamonds. The rough stones are then pushed toward the surface through small volcanic eruptions known as kimberlite eruptions, which seem to have stopped occurring 20 million years ago. It is from these kimberlite pipes that diamonds are most commonly mined.

Currently, while some diamonds can be found in alluvial deposits, where they have naturally eroded from the ground and been deposited elsewhere by water or weather, most diamonds are mined from southern Africa, Russia, and Canada—and India could be added to that short list soon.

Favorable Conditions for Diamond Growth

A group of geologists found kimberlite and lamprolite deposits in the southeastern regions of India, which is a good indication that it has a lithosphere deep enough to be capable of facilitating diamond growth. In all, the promising area covers over 120,000 square miles.

It would still take a significant amount of research and planning before extensive diamond-mining efforts could begin in Southeastern India, but it could ultimately become a viable undertaking. India is already an important center for the cutting and polishing of rough diamonds—just a decade ago, 92% of the world’s supply was cut in Surat, Gujarat, India.

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