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Diamonds found to contain evidence of ancient atmosphere

A team of scientists has discovered that diamonds can be natural time capsules, preserving information about the cycling of sulfur between the Earth’s crust, atmosphere, and mantle some three billion years ago. “These findings show diamonds are much more than jewels,” said Mark Thiemens, Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at UCSD and a co-author of the paper. “They are valuable crystals through which geologists and atmospheric chemists can peer to gain insights into the earth’s atmosphere as it existed billions of years ago. The fact that you can make measurements of the atmosphere some two to three billion years ago by looking at the composition of sulfur in diamonds is remarkable and especially valuable for those studying the ancient earth’s geological processes.”