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Experimental journey into the earth’s interior

"Diamond Formation in the Earth's Interior and the Deep Carbon Cycle" was the topic of the sixth Leibniz Lecture at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting held on December 13 in Washington, DC.


(01/28/19) Carbon and the carbon cycle are essential to the earth’s system. Daniel Frost from the Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry and Geophysics (BGI) at the University of Bayreuth focuses his research on the carbon cycle deep within the earth’s mantle at depths not reachable by drilling. However, he successfully compensates for the lack of rock samples by developing high-pressure and high-temperature experiments, for which he was awarded the DFG Leibniz Prize in 2016.

In his presentation at the AGU Fall Meeting, Frost focused on carbon storage in the earth’s mantle in the form of diamonds. He explained how stable carbon phases can be determined experimentally as a function of pressure and temperature. He also was able to draw conclusions based on the results of these experiments regarding the sequence of these processes in early geological history.

Referencing the “Star of Africa” owned by Queen Elizabeth II, the Leibniz Prize awardee confessed his desire to use this and similarly sized diamond findings in his experiments. The predominantly geoscientific audience members at the Leibniz Lecture were captivated by the talk and required no convincing that diamonds are much more than just jewelry.