Scientists discover ultra-strong diamond created by a dwarf planet

Researchers have discovered the largest crystals yet of a mysterious form of diamond called lonsdaleite, which is 58% harder than Earth diamonds.

Scientists discover ultra-strong diamond created by a dwarf planet
Published Sep 19, 2022 4:31 AM CDT
1 minute & 12 seconds read time

Penned in a new study, researchers claim they have located the largest crystals ever discovered for a mysterious form of a diamond called lonsdaleite.

Scientists discover ultra-strong diamond created by a dwarf planet 01 | TweakTown.com

The new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) details that lonsdaleite features a unique hexagonal structure that makes it about 58% harder than diamonds found on Earth. Notably, lonsdaleite doesn't form on Earth and has, so far, only been discovered in a certain type of meteorite called ureilite meteorites.

Despite it not having an Earth origin, researchers have confirmed via the new study that lonsdaleite "This study proves categorically that lonsdaleite exists in nature," said senior researcher Dougal McCulloch from RMIT. The researcher's findings indicate that the lonsdaleite evidence points to a formation believed to have occurred about 4.5 billion years ago when a meteorite collided with a dwarf planet.

Furthermore, the researchers detail a new formation process for lonsdaleite that is believed to take place after the initial collision. Previously, researchers believed that lonsdaleite was created during the intense impact of an asteroid with a planet, but the new study points to a chemical vapor deposition process that occurs shortly after the catastrophic collision. This leads researchers to believe that lonsdaleite is created in the chemical mixture following a large collision and not the collision itself.

Lead author of the study and Monash University geologist Andy Tomkins explained that this research could be used as the foundational knowledge on replicating the creation process of lonsdaleite for industrial purposes. In particular, the creation of "ultra-hard machine parts."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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