Methane and Diamond – Proof of Abiotic Oil

Science has published a paper by Smith et al, (Large gem diamonds from metallic liquid in Earth’s deep mantle) in which, inter alia, they note one inclusion containing methane,

They found that a few of the offcuts contained grains of majorite – a type of garnet found in Earth’s upper mantle, that only forms under very high pressures.

That wasn’t so surprising, we already know that diamonds require insane amounts of pressure to form, but then they found that other inclusions were made from a mixture of iron, nickel, carbon, and sulphur – a combination that’s never been seen in a ‘common’ diamond before.

They also found traces of methane and hydrogen that had formed around these inclusions like a shroud – something that had also never been observed in a diamond before. 

“That’s unusual. This is the first time I’ve seen methane around an inclusion,” Smith told Rae Ellen Bichell NPR. (LH – My bolding)

Methane at depths of 750 kilometres below the Earth’s surface?

Abiotic oil anyone?

(Incidentally the gem quality stones described in the paper are restricted to kimberlites found on the stable cratons of the Earth’s  crust).

Update: Depth estimates of melts are derived from modelling of Pressure (P) and Temperature (T) under the assumption of the process of self-gravitation.  However an alternative mechanism could include P,T and E, the electric field strength, which could result in diamond and other high pressure mineral phases being stable at shallower depths than if only P&T were used.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
This entry was posted in Science and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Methane and Diamond – Proof of Abiotic Oil

  1. thx1138 says:

    Of course we have all read Golds Deep Hot Biosphere, right?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s