Raw diamond in kimberlite (from National Geographic, see link below)

By Brendan Hanger

I spend my days looking at and analysing peridotite xenoliths which are pieces of mantle that have been carried to the surface by a rather uncommon type of volcano, known as a kimberlite. Very little is known about how kimberlites form and erupt except that it happens fast. Kimberlites are most famous for transporting diamonds to the surface and it is well known that diamonds are not stable in crustal conditions so that transport process must be very fast.

In July I was at a conference in Melbourne and was able to hear a talk by Kelly Russell from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver about recent experiments that his research group had performed showing how CO2 levels increase in the magma and make it more buoyant, leading to explosive eruptions. This was published in Nature last week (481, 352-356) and has also been reported by numerous science news sites such as National Geographic. It’s always good when science that you hear about at a conference is published and makes the news in some way. On a side note, Lucy Porritt, one of the authors was one of my volcanology and petrology demonstrators at Monash University, showing how small the science community can be.