A mineral from the depths of the Earth is discovered intact on the surface

It is not every day that you discover what is deep within the Earth. This area of ​​the planet is a mystery due to its high pressure and temperature, so it is impossible for us to know if earthquakes are generated at that distance or even if there are more terrestrial layers than we imagine.

However, the recent discovery of a small mineral of calcium silicate that has traveled from the depths of the planet to its surface confirms its existence in nature for the first time. The strange rock, which until now was only theoretical in laboratory experiments, was described in an article in the journal Science.

The discovery has also allowed geologists to learn about heat anomalies and the state of magma at the base of the sphere’s mantle. The mineral was baptized as davemaoita in honor of the well-known Chinese geophysicist Ho-kwang (Dave) Mao.

According to experts, davemaoite can only have formed in the upper limit of the lower mantle of the Earth, since it has low levels of titanium and, in contrast to the experiments, high in potassium. Other radioactive elements that compose it are uranium and thorium, which, it is believed, produce a third of the heat of the Earth.

In 2020, davemaoite was officially recognized as a new natural mineral by the International Mineralogical Association.

Calcium silicate (CaSiO3) exists naturally in different structures depending on the amount of pressure it is under. For example, it can be presented in the form of wollastonist at low pressure and breyita at intermediate pressure.

Meanwhile, at a single pressure between 660 and 2,700 km deep, atoms can organize themselves into a cubic structure called perovskite. The davemaoite has now been found on this property.

Although these minerals are rarely preserved in their natural state on the surface, the case of davemaoite is unique.

The diamond that crystallized davemaoite was found in a mine in Botswana, on the continent of Africa, and is estimated to have formed at depths greater than 660 kilometers, at the limit of the upper and lower mantle. According to analyzes, the mineral is a type of calcium silicate (perovskite), which is believed to be present in the lower mantle by 5% and 7%, according to mineralogist Oliver Tschauner.

According to experts, the mineral was preserved within the diamond where it traveled since it contained a form of high pressure ice and another mineral known as wustite. These would have helped reduce the harsh pressures that davemaoite needs to be intact.

Formerly a very rare mineral called edscottitta it was also found on the surface, however its origin came from a meteorite that crashed in Australia.