Breaking news from 4.6 billion years ago.
Contrary to what many people believe, most diamonds do not form from coal.
How Do Diamonds Form?
If you’re still using the old saying, “A diamond is a piece of coal that just stuck to its job!”, it’s time for a science lesson. We’re telling you this today because the diamond-coal relationship was recently listed as one of the “35 Science ‘Facts’ That Are Totally Wrong” by Business Insider . Contrary to what most people believe — including, perhaps, some percentage of you out there — coal doesn’t usually play a role in diamond formation. In fact, most diamonds are older than Earth’s first land plants, and since land plants are the source of coal, well, there’s your proof that diamonds typically don’t come from coal. An article on Geology.com used as reference, states the most common ways diamonds are formed — including formation in the earth’s mantle (these diamonds were later brought to the earth’s surface via deep volcanic eruptions over the subsequent 4.6 billion years), formation in space, and formation during asteroid impact. (Geologists speculate that coal’s carbon content could play a role in diamond formation after asteroid impacts, but that the amount of diamonds thus formed is not significant.)