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Diamonds on other planets? Or just Earth?

  1. May 26, 2005 #1
    Sticking to our own solar system for the moment, aside from Earth, where else could we reasonably expect to find diamonds?

    According the the Columbia encyclopedia:

    "Diamonds are found in alluvial (loose earthy material deposited by running water) formations and in volcanic pipes, filled for most of their length with blue ground or kimberlite, an igneous rock consisting largely of serpentine."

    I don't know how common "volcanic pipes" may or may not be on other planets (or moons), but running water seems to be a fairly rare thing in our solar system.
    How likely is it that Earth is the only place in our solar system where we're ever likely to find diamonds? (At least diamonds on the surface of a planet or moon).

    I'm working on a story that revolves around an unusually large diamond (larger than any found so far on Earth), being found by a robotic rover on another world, and the efforts to bring it back to Earth.

    Although this story is more about greed and thieves, I'd hate to start it out with the diamond around which the story revolves being "discovered" on a planet or moon that makes those who know a bit more about science than I groan "Oh geeze! Why did he pick X? You'd never find diamonds there! If only he chosen Y. At least then It'd be possible, unlikely, but at least possible."

    My initial choice for the place where the diamond was to be found was Titan. Why Titan? 'Cause it makes for a neat sounding title. "Stealing Titan's Heart" with "Titan's Heart" being the name given to the newly discovered precious stone (which only goes to show how writers think :surprised , or don't, take yer pick).
    Well five minutes of checking around sort of nixed that idea.
    Apparently Titan is little more than an ice ball with a bit of rock in the center. Not exactly the kind of world where we're likely to ever find a diamond.

    Better ideas anyone?
    Last edited: May 26, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2005 #2


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  4. May 26, 2005 #3
    How poopy

    Of course that still leaves the 'ol last resort - the technobabble pull a reason out of yer butt ploy.
    (God I really hate doin that, sigh)
    O.k., how 'bout this...
    The "diamond" was an extra-solar "wanderer". A meteor thrown off by a more carbon rich star system. It was captured by our star, eventually by Saturn, and recently observed smacking into Titan. A rover, already present in the area of the impact was diverted to inspect the new crater, and in the center of the broken metor was found...

    So it looks like diamonds are a distinctly terran gem huh?
    Oh well. Not the answer I was hoping for, but what can ya do ya know?

    Tx wolram.
  5. May 26, 2005 #4


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    That may not be necessary.

    Some experiments have shown that diamonds may form in the methane found high in the atmosphere of gas giant planets. It turns out that, under extreme heat and pressure, carbon can separate out of the methane, and this same heat and pressure then compresses the carbon into diamond (and other complex hydrocarbons). It has long been theorized that the core of some or possibly all of the gas giant planets may be diamonds the size of small moons, but these experiments, conducted at UC Berkeley, show that the process may also be taking place as a form of precipitation relatively close to the upper edge of the planets atmosphere (in the upper 1/10).

    You could say that a large impactor (like Schumacher Levy 9) strikes Saturn and passes right through a big pocket of methane, both forming and ejecting a very large diamond. With your "big rock" being spit out of Saturn, Titan becomes a likely landing place. For greater dramatic effect, this impact could take place in the present day so the probe gets to observe it or, for more plausibility, the probe could just find crater and be sent to investigate its walls (to get a better look at what lies beneath the surface of the Moon) and find the gem which has been sitting there for billions of years, since the early days when the solar system was first forming.

    Of course, if "Stealing Triton's Heart" would be a good enough title for you, you could put the whole drama taking place around Uranus, which makes the "PSB" a little more plausible (since Uranus has more methane and is more likely to produce such a diamond).
  6. May 26, 2005 #5
    HUGE tx Lurch!

    Huge ENORMOUS tx!

    1) I love the idea of "Triton's Heart" vs. "Titan's Heart". Better someone's heart as opposed to a group's.

    2) That link, that's an absolutely facinating article. (Wouldn't you love to see what an "anvil" capable of squeezing something to 50 billion pascals[!] looks like?)

    3) I absolutely LOVE the idea of an impactor smacking Uranus, passing through a pocket of methane, and...
    ..a diamond, THE diamond of all diamonds, springs from the forehead of the old boy only to be caught by Triton, the son of Posideon!
    There's a positively Hommerian sense of poetics to that whole idea. That's brilliant, no sh!t, and no doubt, that's GOT to be how it happened in this story. Man I can't think of another instance of where a question about science led to an answer that's such pure art. I am SO glad I asked about this.

    Lurch you just made my whole day, maybe even my whole month.
    HUGE tx! No kiddin.
  7. May 26, 2005 #6
    water has nothing to do with forming diamonds
    it just moves them from the volcanic pipes in to new locations
    in stream/river beds much like gold that is panned from rivers
    it didnot come from there, it is washed into the river bed

    both venus and mars have volcanos at leased old ones

    but a better eazyer place to look for diamonds would be deep in our own planet
    in older volcano remains
  8. May 26, 2005 #7


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    LOL! Hadn't even thought of the mythological implications!
  9. May 26, 2005 #8


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    romantics or what :smile:
  10. May 26, 2005 #9


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    Why settle for a measly little impact diamond when you can have this:
    http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0407.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  11. May 27, 2005 #10
    Why settle?

    Um, ah, 'cause I can't afford the setting for it? ;-)

    My GOD! A diamond, one single stinkin diamond that's 2,500 miles across?

    Do you suppose a diamond THAT big could be a single contiguous crystal?

    Still, size not withstanding, the shear romanticism of Lurch’s impact gem from Uranus is just too much for me to resist.
    'Course, seein as how ya can't use an idea like this to sell toys through the drive-in window of yer local BURGERP KING, a video game, or "appeal to a younger male demographic", it'll be the first thing cut, but, at least those of us in this forum will know where the diamond came from.
    Five years from now we can all b!tch about it in the unlikely event something like this actually gets picked up.
  12. May 27, 2005 #11


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    bigger is better?
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