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No. 101: Sep-Oct 1995

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Diamonds as gems have an eerie hold on the human mind. Scientists, too, find them mysterious in several ways. Despite considerable study, the origin(s) of diamonds remain controversial. In SF#92*, we already mentioned and illustrated the unusual orthogonal arrays of hollow tubes discerned in some diamonds at high magnifications (100X). These tubes remain unexplained, as far as we know.

Now, in some diamonds, these tubular arrays are found to be associated with radiohalos. Radiohalos are often seen in some common minerals, such as biotite, but, even there, questions of origin persist. (See SF#25 and SF#58.) No one questions that radiohalos, whether in biotite or diamonds, arise from the the decay of radioactive inclusions; that is, mineral specks carrying uranium, thorium, or some other radioactive element. But how did these radioactive specks get lodged inside the hollow tubes which themselves are encased within diamonds? The problem is that these specks have much lower melting points than the diamond matrix. Why wasn't the liquid radioactive material dispersed throughout the higher melting point diamond matrix long before the latter crystallized? The same question must be asked about the radiohalos themselves, because the application of heat quickly anneals and disperses them. Complicating the picture still further is the fact that some of the radiohalos arise from the decay of polonium-210, which has a half life of only 138 days.

The hollow tubes, the lowmeltingpoint inclusions, and shorthalflife radiohalos combine complicate the explanation of diamond origin(s) and geological history. (Armitage, Mark; "Internal Radiohalos in a Diamond," Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 9:93, 1995. This creationist journal is published in Australia. The article is based mainly on: Mendelssohn, M.J. et al; "Internal Radioactive Haloes in Diamonds," Diamond Research, 17:2, 1979.)

Comment. Explanations of the forgoing conundrums hypothesize the invasion of crystals by impurities after diamond solidification.

*SF#92 = Science Frontiers #92.

From Science Frontiers #101 Sep-Oct 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987