Lonsdaleite

3 June 2016
Astronomy

A hexagonal form of diamond later known as lonsdaleite was identifed for the first time inside or alongside fragments of the Canyon Diablo meteorite, the object that created the Barringer Crater in Arizona. It has subsequently become important to research into cosmic collisions with the earth – and specifically with hypothesized atmospheric explosions. These include the Younger Dryas Boundary event, the Tunguska explosion and the Ries crater in Germany. It will also be relevant to the search for Biblical Sodom and various late 3rd millennium soil samples dating from the end of Akkad. These are the nano-diamonds we have mostly heard about in research into the onset of the Younger Dryas. Naturally dissenters of cosmic intervention have been keen on debunking any association of nano-diamonds and lonsdaleite with cosmic objects entering the atmosphere and exploding or even slamming into the surface of the Earth. Anything catastrophic in nature that is hypothesized has to be debunked – its all part of the uniformitarian mind-set. However, a new study in Nature Communications seems to totally undermine the critics – see www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160314111359.htm (from March). Lonsdaelite is actually harder than ordinary diamond and the paper claims to mimic the fast dynamics of high pressure events (such as atmospheric explosions of cosmic bodies). Diamond formation occurs on nano-second timescales – which is another blow to gradualism I suppose, as a result of shock compression of graphite. The team observed the direct formation of lonsdaleite – at laboratories in Stanford University. No doubt Younger Dryas researchers will be pleased although the research also seems to open the commercial prospect of producing small pieces of diamond for cutting tools on demand.

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