January 3, 2014
Researchers have published evidence that diamonds may exist in Antarctica due to the presence of kimberlites in the eastern part of the continent. The findings, which were published in Nature Communications, imply that diamonds could now be found on every continent.
Kimberlites are formed between 100 and 300 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, and they are the primary source of diamonds today. They can range in age from 10,000 to 2.1 billion years, though most of the diamonds mined today are anywhere from hundreds of millions to three billion years old.
The kimberlites found in Antarctica are 120 million years old and are unlikely become profitable sources of diamonds. In addition to mining being prohibited on the continent under the Madrid Protocol, only one or two percent of kimberlites actually contain diamonds that are of any commercial value.
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This post has not been revised since publication.