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Volcano brings 4.5bn-year-old diamonds to surface

An ancient reservoir of diamonds that is older than the moon has been discovered near the Earth’s core, more than 410km below the surface.

The diamonds had lain undisturbed for more than 4.5 billion years before being brought to the surface by a violent volcanic eruption in Brazil.

An international group of scientists measured helium isotopes – different atomic forms of helium – in the diamonds to find the ancient reservoir, according to a study published in Science.

Researchers say they acted as “perfect time capsules” that gave them an insight into the tumultuous period shortly after the planet formed. During this period there was so much violent geological activity that almost nothing of the young planet’s original structure remained.

However, amid all this change, it had long been suspected there was an area of the mantle somewhere between the crust and core which had been relatively undisturbed. Until now, there was no proof it existed.

I have to nit-pick one thing here. 410km below the Earth's surface isn't "near the core": it's in the upper reaches of the mantle. The core doesn't start until 2900km below the surface :P .

Still, I was always taught that the mantle was a pretty unstable place with a jelly-like consistency, so it's rather surprising to learn that anything that old has survived down there!
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A wonderful discovery and makes you think of the immense length of time it too them to actually come to the surface.
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