back to article SATANIC 'HELL DIAMOND' tells of sunless subterranean sea

For years scientists have theorised about the amount of water locked in the Earth's infernally hot depths, frustrated at not being able to get at a sample. Now geologists claim to be closer to an answer – thanks to a single ugly diamond found in Brazil. The $20 diamond that yielded the ringwoodite sample The brownish gem – …


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  1. Matthew Smith

    Fountains of the deep

    There has been lots printed about the Book Of Genesis mention of 'The fountains of the deep opening to flood the earth'. Well, they are actually correct. Of course there is water kept deep below the ground by divine providence.

    For we all know, that is where Cthullu sleeps.


    1. an it guy

      Re: Fountains of the deep

      well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of that. I was debating posting that because it has always struck me as something odd, with many people saying it's rubbish because it doesn't make sense.

      Except now it looks likely that it does make sense

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        "This new mineral cockrinite can withstand high pressure..."

        Except now it looks likely that it does make sense

        Yah, ok, how does it make sense?

        Some guy writes about digging wells in his desert patch which will help him irrigate the stones, and this is somehow relevant to H20 mixed in siilica, carbon and iron masses a few thousand km below your feet?

        A likely story!

        1. Tom 13

          Re: "This new mineral cockrinite can withstand high pressure..."

          "And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."

          No, it wasn't some guy digging a well in the desert. Deserts have never been referred to as "the deep."

          It's at least an interesting read and suggests a mechanism we have not to my knowledge observed for generating rain in massive quantities. Which would actually meet the test of the scientific method in that it predicts something by which we can test it. Oddly enough, if correct it becomes an insurmountable obstacle to runaway AWG.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: "This new mineral cockrinite can withstand high pressure..."

            No, it wasn't some guy digging a well in the desert. Deserts have never been referred to as "the deep."

            Well, come back if you find the original sumerian text and can do an appropriate translation. Otherwise we will never get to the matter of the semantics of the above phrase.

    2. wowfood

      Re: Fountains of the deep

      And here I always thought Cthullu was trapped in an alternate dimension. Maybe the alternate dimension is actually a tear between dimensions, so he lives both in our dimension trapped below the earth, and outside of our dimension so he can't affect anything around him. A bit like in TNG: The Next Phase when Geordie and that other person get stuck out of phase with the dimension.

      1. magickmark

        Re: Fountains of the deep

        In the story "Call of Cthulu" Cthulu lies dreaming in sunken R'lyeh somewhere under the South Pacific ocean.

        "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" ("In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.")

        Yog-Sothoth was said to have been bannished to the spaces outside of time and space "Yog-Sothoth, who froths as primal slime in nuclear chaos beyond the nethermost outposts of space and time!" - The Lurker at the Threshold.

  2. jubtastic1

    That's Amazing

    So many questions, I wish this had come up when I was studying geology all those years ago. Is the water slowly seeping in from the surface or leaking out to it?, presumably its in the form of steam or is this one of those ice n types? anyone know?

    1. chris 143

      Re: That's Amazing

      Given the pressures it's likely to be some superheated liquid

      The answer to the in/out question is probably both. Some water gets carried down by sinking tectonic plates and some rises up again via volcanoes

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. dan1980

        Re: That's Amazing

        By my understanding, this is just some nice evidence that supports an already well-established theory: that surface water gets 'recycled' and 'cleaned' through this process, with the salts stripped as the water is carried down by subduction (and at the ridges/fissures) and evaporated and eventually returned to the ocean as fresh water through the geothermal vents*.

        If something like this didn't happen, one can see that through evaporation and run-off, the ocean should steadily increase in salinity over time. Which would likely be bad.

        The fact (if it is fact) that there may be enough water in the mantle to cover the tallest mountains does not mean that the story of captain two-by-two is suddenly plausible.

        There are 3 fundamental problems, which are:

        1. - It is highly doubtful that the release, and therefore depletion of such vast quantities of water from the mantle would do nothing more than cover mountains. I can't say what it would do but it seems somewhat similar to saying that just because volcanic activity produces magma, all the volcanoes in the world erupting simultaneously would just mean more magma.

        2. - By what mechanism did this unprecedented outpouring suddenly stop? It can't be that all the proposed water was emptied as that would cover higher than the bible asserts.

        3. - This process of water 'recycling' through the mantle is, as you can imagine, not quick on a global scale. The idea that the waters would just recede in anything approaching human time-scales is crazy.

        In using this process as the proof of the Bibical flood, one must assert that this slow process suddenly accelerated enormously, halted abruptly and then all the extra water went back just as quickly as it came.

        Further, even taking such liberties with the planet's otherwise slow and inexorable processes, one must find a way to address concerns about what such a stupendous amount of not only fresh but hot water would do to the ocean, which is governed by gradients in salinity and temperature.

        As the saying goes, as well to be hung for a sheep as a lamb so if you're going to magically speed up, halt and reverse an otherwise stable process and then wave away the likely short and long term repercussions, you might as well just make the entire process magical without trying to co-op an existing process.

        After all, the more you rely on purely natural processes, the less responsibility and control a magical vengeance fairy has in the affair. At which point, you have to throw out the whole punishment angle. And then the story becomes: "natural disaster threatens entire population; all-powerful and benevolent deity tells family to build boat."

        * - The minerals, in turn are returned through volcanic/tectonic processes like the spreading of the sea floor and volcanoes.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: That's Amazing

          First up, IIRC my old earth evolutionary geology and biology, the oceans are NOT maintaining their salinity level and it is in fact increasing. Something about out blood pH matching a prehistoric sea pH comes to mind.

          On point 1, see the link I posted above. The authors examine a possible cause and examine in some detail aspects of what it means.

          On points 2 and 3 the answer is the mechanism is unknown. That something is unknown does not imply it does not exist. At present we don't know what holds galaxies together but we do not doubt that they are held together by something.

          1. kraut

            Re: That's Amazing

            At present we don't know what holds galaxies together but we do not doubt that they are held together by something.

            Err.. gravity?

          2. dan1980

            Re: That's Amazing

            @Tom 13

            "First up, IIRC my old earth evolutionary geology . . ."

            Also known as "geology".

            Of course, in asserting that the flood was a natural process and yet sent by God, the logical extension is that the geological processes that 'caused' the flood had to be there already.

            At that point we get into the mess of omnipotence vs omniscience (vs free will)[1].

            If the geology was there anyway and simply utilised by God for his rather extreme lesson, then what would have happened if the natural processes were not available? Perhaps, in his omnipotence, he would have just created the required rain. But then why bother with the vents in the first place if that's possible?

            If the idea that God had to just 'make do' with what was already in place is far too limiting on the creator of the universe then we must posit that the earth was fashioned with processes such as this for the purpose of wiping out humanity almost to a man and that this potential was sitting there, waiting until it was needed.

            That implies either omniscience or rather a large measure of pessimism about his creation - building a doomsday switch into the earth just in case he needed to kill everyone for their wickedness.

            If we assume the former premise - that God is omniscient - we must conclude that these world-wide processes were, at least in part, created for the purpose of wiping out humanity at a specific point in time[2]. Now, given that these processes include subduction and sea-floor spreading, which in turn contribute to frequent natural dangers like earthquakes, tsumanis and volcanoes, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that in order to accomplish the one-time genocide of all races and cultures on earth (with the exception of one small family), God created a planet volatile enough that millions of people have died before and since as a side-effect.

            Not that a God down with rinsing the earth clean of people[3] would presumably be too concerned with a few children trapped helplessly under rock and rubble, their shattered bodies held in place as they slowly suffocate in pitch dark, or a whole town burnt alive by a super-heated pyroclastic flow, or even entire countries devastated by unstoppable walls of water.

            So that's the dilemma. If it is asserted that the processes employed in the biblical flood were 100% natural then you must posit either a lucky God, a prepared but rather pessimistic God or an omniscient but callous God.

            The only way to make this truly a natural process and yet caused by God is to accept an omniscient God who, in creating the planet, created a ticking time-bomb, set to go off at a particular moment. Free will, at least to the point of the flood, is, therefore, bunk.

            Anything else requires magical intervention - either to open geyers that wouldn't have opened on their own, cause them to discharge water in ways (and volumes) they wouldn't have on their own, or to have created these geyers where they wouldn't have existed otherwise.

            The choice is between magical intervention, which denies a purely natural, scientifically sound process or pre-ordained destruction, which denies free will - and also paints God as quite the nasty fellow. That behaviour is like buying a horse you know has a lame leg, then putting it down (by drowning it, no less) when it fails to win a race.

            In other words, you can't claim the flood as a process that can be defended scientifically without it being caused by a God who is a right bugger - judging humanity by a measure he knows they cannot reach and then killing them in a most unpleasant manner for failing.

            [1] - This paradox plagues the entire Bible but is most troubling in these acts of punishment.

            [2] - Of course, an omniscient God could hardly claim to regret creating man (Gen 6:5-7, NIV) as he must have known that this, exactly this, and only this would happen. Which, of course, collides with any concept of free will.

            [3] - I wonder if the children, wide-eyed with terror, reached out for their parents as they were swept away. I wonder what last thoughts accompanied those parents' last images - of their children convulsing and flailing helplessly as they tried to breathe, their lungs filling with water, unable to understand what was happening or why.

  3. deadlockvictim Silver badge


    There are bacteria that live in volcanoes. If there is a substantial body of water down in the transition zone, I wonder if there is any life down there? I wouldn't be surprised if there are and if there are, I'd be as curious in the organisms themselves as to how they got there — evolved where they were or migrated down from outside.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Life

      Are you eluding the a secret race of mole people who live deep underground?

      1. Robert Moore

        Re: Life

        "Are you eluding the a secret race of mole people who live deep underground?"

        They are crab people. As you well know, since you are one of them! (Rips face mask off to reveal crab face.)

        1. VinceH

          Re: Life

          They're called "Crawlers".

          A documentary was made about them in 2005.

          1. MrDamage Silver badge


            They're called Graboids.

      2. 's water music

        Re: Life

        Are you eluding the a secret race of mole people who live deep underground?

        I am going to elude them for as long as possible. After that, I for one will welcome our talpine overlords.

    2. Martin Budden

      Re: Life

      And there was me thinking it was Silurians who live deep underground.

  4. ravenviz Silver badge

    hygronomous entanglement

    "in a way, proves both the dry and wet theories"

    I'm glad that's all sorted out then!

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: hygronomous entanglement

      The only thing 'Hygronomous Entanglement' proves is that with a single band, the heavy metal, hair band genre gets a new lease on life.

  5. TitterYeNot


    “This sample really provides extremely strong confirmation that there are local wet spots deep in the Earth,” said Graham Pearson of the University of Alberta.

    As this is a serious article about some scientific research, I'm not even going to mention the one about large bodies, being rolled in flour, and wet spots. No, I'm not, really. No, honestly, I won't...

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Flour

      That was a close call there. For one moment I thought you were about to mention... no wait... dammit, I nearly did it myself.

    2. Chris 244

      Re: Flour

      Comment caused much chuckling , nearly made me slap thigh and ride the wa...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like

    Another thing Jules Verne got right in "Journey to The Center of The Earth" {}:>))

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like

      Didn't Brendan Fraser film an epic documentary that proved Verne's writings back in 2008? I seem to recall seeing it. The transition zone is full of hungry dinosaurs and other strange creatures. I still don't understand how he got back to the surface...

    2. JCitizen
      Big Brother

      Re: Sounds like

      Exactly what I thought. Now they could remake a new movie version a completely different way, and I'd get excited about seeing such a story again! It was one of the few, I thought was dead until now! I'm a huge Jules Verne fan! Funny how gravity gets neutralized more and more as you go to the center. Water is completely incompressible, and has many powerful properties that could change into a state of matter we don't even understand at that depth. It is fun to boggle the mind once more! :O

  7. Rodrigo Valenzuela


    Journey to the center of the Earth


    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Verne?

      Next stop: graveyard of the mastodonts!

  8. Herby

    Water, Water...

    Everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

    Seems fitting now.

  9. Tom 35

    sunless subterranean oceans

    Or maybe a really big damp sponge?

  10. Mike Moyle


    "Ringwoodite, the highest pressure peridot, has previously been found in meteorites, but has never been discovered on Earth before because scientists can't reach the planet's core."

    Wouldn't this imply that the old, (I thought....) discredited "planet between Mars and Jupiter" explanation for the asteroid belt may have some validity after all? I ca't see how a crystal that apparently needs deep-crustal pressures to form would show up in meteorites, otherwise.

    What am I missing?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Huh...

      The solar system was full of major hunks of rock previously; indeed the Earth-Moon system comes out of collision of a pair of those. So finding stuff like this in the heaven sure is possible.

      However, the "planet between Mars and Jupiter" is unworkable as the whole asteroid belt only has a few percent of the mass needed for a honest-to-god planet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What you're missing

      Is the amount of pressure that results from an asteroid becoming a meteorite by virtue of striking the Earth. Similar to how shocked quartz is only found in the Earth's crust where big meteorites have hit (and where we've done underground H bomb blasts)

  11. Scruffy828


    Exactly where does it mention that this "jewel" is indeed the spawn of/product of Satan??

    1. hplasm

      Re: Satanic??

      It's come up from beneath- where Satan lives.

      With Saddam.

  12. Oninoshiko
    IT Angle

    I enjoyed reading this

    mostly because it amused me that I know all these minerals. Who knew dwarf fortress was so educational?

    (I'm calling that an IT angle)

  13. Euripides Pants

    Looks like Alien ate the T1000...

    ...and crapped it out.

  14. Toastan Buttar

    Can it be true?

    That I hold here, in my mortal hand, a nugget of purest Green?

  15. Chris Landau (geologist)

    Hydroxyl groups in diamonds do not prove oceans of water.

    One acorn does not make a forest. There are many inclusions of many minerals in many diamonds in many thousands of Kimberlites. Hydrated minerals of the Chlorite group and hydrated micas have been known for decades in diamonds. Nobody has been talking about oceans of water based on these. The fact is many metamorphic minerals contain hydrated minerals. So what! i for one am not excited. Check it out. Check the data. One inclusion of a diamond in a diamond does not prove a damn thing. Get real! Get real Nature Magazine Wake up! Are you so thin on publishable data to make a song and dance about this or is this just the press blowing everything out of proportion.

    Silicate rocks all contain oxygen. Olivine, pyroxene, micas, quartz and felspar all contain oxygen, These are the building blocks of every rock you see on this planet and the moon. Nobody is looking for oceans of oxygen in the mantle. The oxygen is now incorporated into the silicate structure as is the hydrogen in micas, amphiboles and asbestos minerals in the hydroxyl or OH group.

    What about these rock forming minerals and what about them as inclusions in diamonds. Why no excitement for them?

    Lastly at what depth was the mineral introduced into this poorly crystallized diamond. Is the sample contaminated?

    Chris Landau (geologist)

    14th March 2014

    1. Uffish

      @ Chris Landau (geologist)

      Can you tell me where I can buy a diamond for $20? Thanks.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: @ Chris Landau (geologist)

        Have you heard of this new fangled website: Google? Or perhaps

        A quick search on the first yields links to this page:

        You'll find a variety of types and prices, some are mere pennies per carat.

  16. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Well, it makes sense that...

    As most of the subduction zones are located underwater, that a huge volume of highly pressurized water flows down that way as well.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, the gist of this article is "Scientists poke deep inside the Earth, find her suprisingly moist"?

  18. Chris Landau (geologist)

    The inclusion of Ringwoodite is in Wollastromite and is not in the diamond

    The inclusion of Ringwoodite (olivine-peridot) is in Wollastromite(Wollastonite-pyroxene) and is not in the diamond

    Basalt is made of mostly three crystals, pyroxene, olivine and feldspar. Kimberlite (mantle magma) volcanic pipes which carry this igneous magma from the mantle to the surface pass though basalt and are in any case olivine rich(dunite) and pyroxene rich (peridotite) magmas. These magmatic fluids include chromite, garnet, ilmenite, rutile, apatite(teeth enamel) and mica crystals.

    So as the carbon (diamond-reduced carbon dioxide-reduced carbon monoxide) makes its way to the surface in a volatile bubbling mass, it picks up crystals of the surrounding country rock, mostly pyroxene and olivine, because that is what the mantle is made up of and some of the other crystals mentioned above and the Kimberlite carries them to the surface.

    This mineral mass of Ringwoodite-Wollastromite (glorified basalt) is on the outside of the diamond, not fully enclosed, so it could have been picked up anywhere.along that Kimberlite pipe even at deep crustal to shallow crustal depths.

    The diamond is also poorly crystallized. If it had been euhedral ( well formed crystal) and the Ringwoodite had been found inside a bi-pyramidal octagonal diamond, It might give more credence to this Ringwoodite-Wollastromite deep mantle origin, but as it is not in the center, I do give its original depth origin as definite by any means.

    Also, there is no the water content in the chemical formula of olivine or Ringwoodite, that is, Mg2SiO4 to Fe2SiO4 .Therefore water content can only be included in bubbles or vesicles in that crystal.

    Vesicles or bubbles containing water or carbon dioxide can be found in any mineral or crystal in an explosive type magma such as kimberlite or a volcano like Mount St Helens or Mt. Etna. According to literature, manufactured synthetic Ringwoodite may contain up to 2.6% water, I assume again this is in bubbles in the crystal not in the crystal structure itself. No where is this made clear in these articles.

    I guess you have to be a geologist to read between the lines.

    So we have an ocean of water, where again? In laboratory made surface Ringwoodite and shock metamorphic olivine in veins in meteorite? Mmm. Yeah. Mmm.

    I am not talking about original metamorphic water to derive the minerals.

    There is no attached water molecule to Ringwoodite. The chemical formula is the same as that of Olivine.(Mg2SiO4 to Fe2SiO4 with a solid solution percentage variability existing for iron and magnesium).

    Lastly Ringwoodite found in veinlets in meteorites is a shock metamorphic olivine. Kimberlite pipes intrude themselves through the crust in a blast shock metamorphic style changing the country rock near the surface of the earth based on their high carbon dioxide and high water contact.

    This shock metamorphic conversion of Olivine to Ringwoodite could have occurred at a high temperature low pressure environment. Heaven only knows what conditions prevailed in Ringwoodite formation in Meteorites, possibly high pressure high temperature OR low temperature high pressure.

    Did these basaltic meteorites get their Ringwoodite from collisions or from original planetary core formation. Was that meteorite from a core or planetary body since destroyed. If Ringwoodite is shock high pressure low temperature created, than shock conditions on the Earth's surface in explosive eruptions could just as easily have made it. Ringwoodite does not have to come from depth at all.

    So, I dispute the fact of Ringwoodite coming from great depths because it is:

    1) On the outside of an diamond.

    2) The diamond is not euhedral(well crytallized)

    3) Shock metamorphism to the diamond at the Earth's surface as with meteorites could just as easily have formed this crystal.

    One tiny crystal on the outside of a badly formed diamond is much more likely to just be contamination.

    How about a new idea for a big juicy grant. Why do the researchers not get the universities to fund them to find water bubbles inside diamonds, but only make damn sure they are well formed (euhedral diamonds)

    Now water bubbles inside diamonds would not be open to debate because of the depth they are formed at. Please no artificial diamonds are allowed to be sneaked in for papers. Please date the water in these bubbles.

    Did anyone date the water content in this tiny crystal or is the water contact real or just thumb-suck based on average water content for Laboratory Ringwoodite or Meteorite Ringwoodite? I doubt if there was enough of a sample at 60 micro meters.

    As you can see, I have a few questions about this paper.

    Chris Landau (geologist)

    14th March 2014

    1. panacea

      Re: The inclusion of Ringwoodite is in Wollastromite and is not in the diamond

      All of that beautiful sturm und drang, cast into the ether...well, I read it anyway. Thank you for your elucidation!

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