This Summer Rocks! Diamonds

Welcome to the second installment of This Summer Rocks! 7 Geology and Gem Inspired Adventures. Today’s adventure takes us on a magical journey through space and time to learn about the strongest and most brilliant gem on earth. No wonder diamonds are so coveted with attributes like that!

diamond adventure location

Our adventure begins a billion years ago and 100 miles below the oldest part of the African continent. To get there we dreamed up a fantastic vehicle with a drill nose and a clock capable of rewinding time. It had super thick walls and we brought along a giant ice cube to keep us from burning up and being crushed by the extreme heat and pressure in the earth’s mantle.

drilling for diamonds

Once we got there we switch the clock from rewind to fast forward and watched diamond crystals grow. Instead of forming ordinary graphite the heat and pressure caused the surrounding carbon atoms to become tightly woven together into what is called a covalent bond. It takes billions and billions of carbon atoms to form a one carat diamond and where does all that carbon come from? Turns out the earth might have recycled some of it from old plant/animal matter through a process called subduction.

watch diamonds grow

Now for the most exciting part of our journey. We fastened out seatbelts as a very fast kimberlite pipe full of melted rock shot us and the diamonds back up to the earth!

kimberlite pipe

We fast forwarded time again to see how many years of erosion freed us and some of the diamond crystals into a nearby stream.

finding diamonds

We were back in present day and could finally pick up the examine the beautiful diamond crystals but unfortunately since our journey was fantasy we couldn’t keep the valuable gems.

* * *

Diamonds were formed billions of years ago and in reality are inaccessible to us but thanks to these powerful kimberlite eruptions there are some to be found on or close to the earth’s surface.

If you want to find a diamond you have to look in the right places. Sometimes a circular dip in the ground can be seen at the site of an eroding kymberlite pipe. Scientists also have tools for identifying possible locations.

If you would like to increase your odds of finding a diamond visit Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas where if you find a diamond you get to keep it!

Diamond Crystal Printable

And if you can’t make it to Arkansas make your own diamond crystal model. Diamonds are cut by jewelers into shapes that enhance their beauty and brilliance but diamond crystals naturally form as octahedrons. Here’s how… Print: octahedron printable, cut out shape, fold along all lines, unfold, glue shaded triangles together (last one is a little tricky but you can slip your finger inside to press flap closed), and fold.

Video instructions…

Learn more about diamonds, octahedrons, covalent bonds, billions, subduction, and kimberlite from Wikipedia.

Further reading: While we were watching diamond crystals grow Mrs. Frizzle and her Magic School Bus drove right past us (image is Amazon affiliate link)!

Also in this series… 

Ann

I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! doodlesandjots@hotmail.com. If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.

8 comments

  1. I didn’t know that Kimberlite pipes are how diamonds get pushed up so they are accessible!

    I love the image of you with the sparkly diamond on your ring finger pointing to Africa! Hope you got to keep that one! 😉
    Elisa | blissfulE recently posted..July log bookMy Profile

    • Thanks, yes, I do have a diamond engagement ring and it is pretty big although not that big and I have to get the setting repaired so I aven’t been wearing it :-(

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