Russia reveals large deposit of "extra-hard" diamonds in asteroid crater

The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reports that the government has declassified a large deposit of diamonds, located in a meteorite crater formed 35 million years ago. The unique composition of these "extraterrestrial gemstones" could make them uniquely valuable for the technology industry:

According to Academician Pokhilenko, "the value of impact diamonds is added by their unusual abrasive features and large grain size." "This expands significantly the scope of their industrial use and makes them more valuable for industrial purposes / in metalworking, in production of efficient semiconductors, etc./," he said. In addition, as yet, impact diamonds with similar specifications have not been discovered anywhere else in the world. Thus, experts speak about their extraterrestrial origin and claim that Russia becomes a monopoly owner of unlimited supplies of this unique raw material, which is of highly demand in advanced technologies. Scientists forecast, this raw material reserves "would be enough for the entire world for 3.000 years." Use of these minerals in the manufacturing industry is capable of a technical revolution.
The diamonds are described as "extra-hard." #thatswhatshesaid



  1. I’m glad we finally have a source of extra-hard diamonds. I’m tired of the soft-ass shit that passes for diamonds these days.

    I bet the new Russian diamonds go to 11 on the Mohs scale.

  2. I was wondering the same thing. Do diamonds come in extra-hard? Or is this like when the pedantic asshole at work told me I had to start with cold water when properly making tea as cold water “had more oxygen in it.”

    Also, penis jokes.

    1. Wellllll… Oxygen *is* more soluble in cold water. Fish asphyxiate when it’s too warm, all that. Same as my soda carbonator works way better when the water is cold, CO2 more soluble then. Now, does that make better tea? Doubtful. Any British chemists care to chime in?

      1. I did not know that. Fuckin’ A. I thought fish died when it was too warm because they got too warm.

        Now I am doubting something I always just assumed to be true; that two batches of boiling water are the same, regardless of whether one started out warm and the other started out cold.

        1.  This is the kind of question New Scientist has its back page devoted to. Ask ’em, you’ll produce a very academic flame war.

        2. Well…

          By the time the water reaches a rolling boil I think most of the dissolved gases have come out, and also I am unconvinced that the presence or absence of 1mg of dissolved oxygen in your mug of tea (difference between about 10mg/l at 15 °C and about 6 at 50 °C) would be discernible. So yeah, your pedantic tea-water-temperature nazi is indeed full of it. Or at least, his reason for using cold water is bullshit.

          1. Comments about the oxygen in tea water likely have more to do with the oxidation of metals in solution than any actual flavor of the oxygen remaining in the water after boiling.  All that oxidation occurs before the oxygen leaves the water during a boil.  Oxidation is why water tastes better after you’ve let the tap run for a touch.

          2. I am sceptical of this too. Without information about which metal ions, what state they are oxidised to, and the concentrations thereof, it isn’t really an explanation.

            Also, wouldn’t oxidation take place faster in warm water than cold water? And wouldn’t oxidation due to oxygen dissolved in the water have taken place long before the water comes out the tap?

            Probably letting the tap run for a touch runs away some of the warmer water in the above-ground pipes so you get a colder glass of water – which may be more pleasant, but I don’t think it necessarily contains different concentrations of anything you could detect with your sense of taste.

          3. I don’t think it necessarily contains different concentrations of anything you could detect with your sense of taste.

            Maybe you just have better plumbing. There’s a definite end-of-the-plumbing-line taste in mine.

          4. Letting the water run clears out minerals that have precipitated while the water has been still.  Also, the chlorine builds up for some reason.  Our water comes from a well and tower 1/4 mile away.  By the time it travels through concrete mains, up through the plastic pipes in the building, it picks up chemicals.  When I first turn on the tap in the morning for coffee, the water smells like a swimming pool, and if a glassful is taken before the water is run, small bits of ancient coral reef that have dissolved and precipitated can be seen.  We enjoy award winning water from our well in the Florida aquifer, but by the time it traverses its short distance to my kitchen, it has lots of additives that change the taste of coffee or tea.

      2. Not a Brit not a scientist, but the extra oxygen is evaporated when the water comes to a boil.  In Japanese tea ceremonies, a scoopful of fresh water from the well is added to the boiling water right before the tea is put in, to ‘refresh’ the water.  The problem I find with already hot water is in the source.  If it is a potable hot water heater, then all is fine and the chlorine and fluorine, etc., etc., etc., have had a little extra time to evaporate.

    2. Diamonds are of variable hardness. Generally the octahedral faces of diamond crystals are harder than the cubic faces, but also hardness is also affected the physical structure of the crystal. Smaller crystals are generally harder than large ones because small crystals are less likely to contain flaws. The hardest of all are those where the crystal faces are precisely aligned with the atomic lattice.

      Some gem fields produce consistently hard diamonds. The South Australian fields supply many of the diamonds used to cut and polish other diamonds.

    3. actually, cold water “tends” to be more oxygenated…
      heating removes free oxygen from the water while cooling that same water doesn’t necessarily reoxygenate it. you have to do it physically by actually making bubbles.
      an experiment – fill two glasses of water from the tap (nice and bubbly). put one in the fridge right away and heat the other one almost to the boiling point. let it cool a bit and place it in the fridge with the first one. once they’re at the same temperature, taste them. you WILL feel the difference.

      as for the diamonds.. i don’t know whether this news is bs or not, but i suppose that not all crystalline structures are the same at molecular level and that the conditions under which they formed do have an influence on their “purity” (how close they conform to the ideal mathematical model of the structure) who knows?

      1.  Of course they’ll taste different, when you boiled one sample you released any number of trace elements into the air, plus probably picked up a few from the equipment used to boil it, even if you used a paper cup in a microwave!

  3. This could completely undo DeBeers and their awful monopoly over a relatively common gemstone. I very much hope it does.

  4. I think I’m gonna have to call BS on this one… diamonds that are “twice harder than usual ones”? Really? And they didn’t crack into this magnificent stash of wealth while the USSR was going bankrupt?

    Yeah, I want some of what they’re smoking as well….

    1. Somewhere, Nicky Openheimer is laughing his fool head off. Owning 40% of DeBeers must have been nice but I bet selling off your stake months before this announcement felt frackin’ priceless.

    2. third paragraph of link, about 150 words in, it is all explained. They had other diamond mines they were doing well from and did not want to destroy the tightly controlled pricing with over-supply. Those crafty communists!

  5. The article neglects to mention that most extraterrestrial diamonds are either black & bubbly, or microscopic, or both. None of these diamonds will be going into rings. Most will be used as industrial abrasives, as that’s pretty much all they’re good for.

    1. psh, speak for yourself!  I can’t imagine a more perfect gem for my death metal bride.  And as a bonus, it’s maybe from space!

    2. How convenient then that these diamonds aren’t of extraterrestrial origin.
      Ah, I see where you’re getting that. Isn’t it cute how ITAR-TASS thinks that its reporters and web editors know English?

    3. Actually these aren’t extraterrestrial diamond, but impact diamonds, the original article put in a correction
      “Editor’s note: The original version misstated the type of deposit needed to create impact diamonds.]”
      to this
      “The type of stones at Popigai are known as “impact diamonds,” which theoretically result when something like a meteor plows into a graphite deposit at high velocity.”

  6. If diamonds like this have never been seen before and they think it could spark a technical revolution, how could they know that they have a 3000 year supply?

    1. And it’s an unlimited supply!

      Must’ve been a darn big meteor. I wonder how big the impact crater is.

      Wikipedia states 27,000kg of diamonds are used in industry annually. Not that these new and improved diamonds would completely take over that market, but even at 1%, for 3000 years, that would be 800,000 kg of diamonds or 200 cubic meters.

  7. If the price comes down because they have so many, then applications will increase and the projected life span will decrease. I look forward to being able to cut homes into sheer rock faces for sensible money.

  8. Coincidentally, I was recently reading about how the Russians have had DeBeers over a barrel for decades due to their manufactured diamonds that they were claiming were real (“Silver Bears”). 
    Great quote at the end:
    “If Russia continues to expand its own production of both uncut diamonds and silver bears, De Beers will be unable to stockpile or sell the increment– or maintain the diamond invention.”

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