- Two new ultra-hard types of diamond have been found in a meteorite from Finland.
- The ultra-hard carbon crystals were created out of graphite under the intense heat and pressure of the meteorite impact.
- Though the new diamonds are definitely harder than regular diamonds, the crystals were too small to test for their exact hardness.
Researchers using a diamond paste to polish a slice of meteorite stumbled onto something remarkable: crystals in the rock that are harder than diamonds.
A closer look with an array of instruments revealed two totally new kinds of naturally occurring carbon, which are harder than the diamonds formed inside the Earth.
"The discovery was accidental but we were sure that looking in these meteorites would lead to new findings on the carbon system," said Tristan Ferroir of the Universite de Lyon in France.
Ferroir is the lead author of a report on the new diamond in the February 15 issue of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
The researchers were polishing a slice of the carbon-rich Havero meteorite that fell to Earth in Finland in 1971. When they then studied the polished surface they discovered carbon-loaded spots that were raised well above the rest of the surface - suggesting that these areas were harder than the diamonds used in the polishing paste.