The odds

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The odds against diamonds appearing in any given pipe are about a hundred to one. Carbon will crystallize in its densest form only under conditions of considerable heat and pressure-pressures of the sort that exist deep below the thickest parts of the plates, pressures of at least a hundred thousand pounds per square inch. The thickest parts of the plates are the continental cores, the cratons. All diamond-bearing kimberlites ever found have been in pipes that came up through cratons. Down where diamonds form, they are stable, but as they travel upward they pass through regions of lower pressure, where they will swiftly turn into graphite. Only by passing through such regions at tremendous speed can diamonds reach the earth’s surface as flexplek huren groningen diamonds, where they cool suddenly and enter a state of precarious preservation tliat somehow betokens to human beings a touching sense of “forever.” Diamonds shoot like bullets through the earth’s crust. Nonetheless, tl1ey are often found within rinds of graphite. Countless quantities turn into graphite altogether or disappear into the air as carbon dioxide. At room temperature and surface pressure, diamonds are in repose on an extremely narrow thermodynamic shelf. They want to be graphite, and with a relatively modest boost of heat graphite is what they would become, if atmospheric oxygen did not incinerate them first. They are, in this sense, unstable-these finger-flashing symbols of the eternity of vows, yearning to become fresh pencil lead. Except for particles that are sometimes found in meteorites, diamonds present themselves in nature in no other way. Kimberlite is easily eroded. A boy playing jacks in South Africa in i867 picked up an alluvial diamond that led to the discovery of a number of pipes, one of which became the Kimberley Mine. From that pipe alone, fourteen million carats followed. The rock source of diamonds had never before been known. The Regent, the Koh-inoor, the Great Mogul had been eroded out by streams. As the ice walls of the Pleistocene moved across Quebec, resculpting mountains, digging lakes, they apparently dozed through kimberlite pipes, scattering the contents southwest. The ice that plucked up the  flexplek huren apeldoorn diamonds not only brought questions with it but also obscured the answers. How many pipes are there? Where are they? How rich are they in diamonds? If one ten-millionth of their content is gem diamond, they would be worth mining. They are somewhere northeast of Indiana. They are in all likelihood less than a quarter of a mile wide. They may be under glacial drift. They may be under lakes. A few have been discovered-none of value. Presumably, there are others, relatively studded with diamonds. Many people have searched. No one has found them.

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