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New experiment shows diamonds originate methane

An international team of researchers have turned world’s finest gems, diamonds into methane, which is considered to be one of the worst greenhouse gasses. A team of researchers from Universities of Bologna and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique have conducted this research and this research was not a lab mistake. The research paper has been published in Nature Communications. This research will provide insight on the deep carbon cycle. This will also help to understand the formation of hydrocarbons in our planet through abiotic processes.

The carbon cycle that happens in the deep Earth is crucial to understand as 90% of the whole carbon cycle get back into the atmosphere. But what happens inside deep Earth is little known to scientists. This phenomenon is also crucial to understand to sustain our life in Earth.

Scientists know that the decomposition of methane is responsible for diamond formation. But it was undiscovered till now that the opposite process is also possible. Methane is actually produced through the reaction between diamonds and hydrogen. Alberto Vitale Brovarone, the professor of University of Bologna, has explained this process in details in the research paper.

The deep carbon cycle also forms hydrocarbons like methane and this total process does not include any biological activities. Research around the world is discussing about this topic for a century now. To test their theory, researchers took diamonds as it is formed in Earth’s mantle and have solid carbon atoms and a crystal structure.

Scientists have created a “diamond anvil cell” to do their research. This cell is a high-pressure experimental apparatus. Scientists have used this cell to press two diamonds against each other. This will replicate the pressure in which diamonds are created in earth’s upper mantle. Then as a part of their experiment, researchers sprayed pure hydrogen at 300 °C and they saw methane rapidly forming.


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