Just coming up from another long dive suction dredging for diamonds. The hard work of wrestling around a 10" suction hose gets you in amazing shape very quickly. I love diving and the challenges it brings to keep the production coming.
~ Rob Towner
What is alluvial mining?
Today, diamonds are mined in about 25 countries, on every continent but Europe and Antarctica (AMNH, 2006). Although most diamond mining is accomplished by large companies, in many developing countries, diamonds and other minerals are extracted by small- scale miners working in the informal sector. These small-scale miners often use simple artisanal mining techniques in alluvial deposits.
The process of alluvial diamond mining involves digging and sifting through mud, sand and gravel using shovels, sieves, or even bare hands. Typically, diamonds come from geologic rock formations called Kimberlites. Kimberlite rock formations that contain diamonds are eroded over time by rivers and streams and can deposit diamonds in the sediments carried by those streams farther downstream from the original source rocks. These deposits are called alluvial diamond deposits. The locations of these alluvial diamond deposits are controlled by the surrounding topography, drainage patterns, and the location of the Kimberlites themselves. Alluvial deposits are often mined and exploited by small-scale miners using artisanal mining technique.
(USGS - read entire article)
Huge diamond field boasting ‘trillions of carats’ discovered in Russian meteorite crater
A gigantic deposit of industrial diamonds found in a huge Siberian meteorite crater could revolutionize industry, Russian scientists say.
The Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said the Popigai crater in eastern Siberia contains “many trillions of carats” of so-called “impact diamonds” — good for technological purposes, not for jewelry, and far exceeding the currently known global deposits of conventional diamonds.
Nikolai Pokhilenko, the head of the Geological and Mineralogical Institute in Novosibirsk, told RIA Novosti news agency Monday that the diamonds include other molecular forms of carbon. They could be twice as hard as conventional diamonds and therefore have superlative industrial qualities.
(NY Daily News - read entire article)
Diamond-Based Materials Brighten the Future of Electronics
While diamonds may be a girl's best friend, they're also well-loved by scientists working to enhance the performance of electronic devices.
Two new studies performed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have revealed a new pathway for materials scientists to use previously unexplored properties of nanocrystalline-diamond thin films. While the properties of diamond thin films are relatively well-understood, the new discovery could dramatically improve the performance of certain types of integrated circuits by reducing their "thermal budget."
(Science Daily - read entire article)