Christopher Spencer, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, is among a team of international researchers who’ve identified the breakup of tectonic plates as the main driving force behind the generation and eruption of diamond-rich magmas from deep inside the Earth.

The discovery is detailed in Canadian Mining Journal.

The team's findings indicate that the breakup of tectonic plates is the main driving force behind these volcanic eruptions, shedding light on the long-standing mystery of how diamonds reach the Earth's surface.

Diamonds, formed under immense pressure deep within the Earth, are typically found in kimberlite, located in the oldest, thickest parts of continents. The researchers used statistical analysis and machine learning to examine the link between continental breakup and kimberlite volcanism. They found that most kimberlite volcanoes erupt 20 to 30 million years after the tectonic breakup of Earth's continents.

The team's work is groundbreaking and has significant implications for the diamond exploration industry, as it could help identify potential locations and timings of past volcanic eruptions linked to this process.





This article was prepared with assistance from a large language model system, and edited, fact-checked and approved by humans prior to publication.

This article is relevant to the following Strategic Actions as defined in the Queen's Engineering Strategic Plan: