Earth Expansion – Spontaneous or Driven?

One of the more peculiar facts surrounding diamond is its apparent crystalline stability at the Earth’s surface, and behind the De Beers’ famous marketing jingle Diamonds are Forever.

This model is based on the standard diamond stability plot.

Why don’t diamonds spontaneously break down into graphite? Why are diamonds used in drilling machines to bore into solid rock at very high temperatures and pressures associated with drilling? I recall a laboratory experiment described by John Hawthorne (De Beers) at the Anglo American Research Labs during 1980/81 when a diamond crystal was placed in a concrete mixer with a grinding media, and left to operate over night. Next morning no diamond was found in the comminuted slurry. Almost magic. And no graphite.

Here’s a photo of a burnt out diamond coring bit used in the GWD01 drill hole associated with a gravity anomaly. Whoops? And the diamonds were still present in the bit matrix.

Pardoo 013.JPG

Diamonds are also the source of the diamond dust used to cut and polish gem quality diamonds; graphite is again conspicuously absent in this material. If grinding diamonds into dust doesn’t yield graphite, even under the high temperatures and pressures of a high-speed diamond drilling machine, then why is diamond so apparently physically stable at the Earth’s surface?

Which leads to the idea of an expanding earth model. Is the Earth continuously expanding or is it, like natural diamond, stable until affected by an external driver to initiate expansion? Which suggests the expansion is punctuated in a similar fashion to Gould and Eldridge’s idea of an evolutionary punctuated equilibrium for the biosphere?

Just mentioning.

 

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.
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