Shirey Shares the History Behind Your Diamond at the First Installment of Carnegie's 2014-15 Neighborhood Lecture Series

Steve Shirey NLS
Diamond crystal in kimberlite matrix, retrieved from South Africa, with a combined weight of 314.47 carats. The specimen is part of the Oppenheimer Student Collection at the GIA Museum in Carlsbad. Photographed by Robert Weldon, this image was displayed on the front cover of the Winter 2013 issue of the Gems & Gemology journal that accompanied Steve Shirey and James Shighley's featured article entitled "Recent Advances in Understanding the Geology of Diamonds."
Thursday, October 30, 2014 

Last week, friends and neighbors gathered at Carnegie’s Broad Branch Road campus to hear an eye-opening talk on, “The Geology of Diamonds and Why Yours is Remarkable,” by DTM Staff Scientist Steve Shirey at the first installment of Carnegie’s 2014-15 Neighborhood Lecture Series.

To the geologist, diamonds worn as expensive jewelry are a scientific opportunity of far greater value than just gems. Diamonds are erupted in kimberlite volcanoes and carry within them the deepest, oldest, and most pristine mineral inclusions from the mantle known on Earth. Most of these amazing specimens come from the mantle keels of continents at depths greater than 150km but some derive from greater depths including the mantle transition zone (410-660km) and the top of the lower mantle (>660km). In his talk, Shirey explored how diamonds form and what their inclusions tell us about continent formation, mantle circulation and the water content of the mantle.

The Neighborhood Lecture Series spotlights the science at our campus on Broad Branch Road, which is home to DTM and the Geophysical Laboratory. Light refreshments are served prior to each lecture, and each lecture lasts approximately one hour.

View photos from the lecture here. View a PDF version of Shirey's Lecture here

The next Neighborhood Lecture will be held on Thursday, 13 November 2014 by the Geophysical Laboratory's Douglas Rumble. His talk will cover, "What Are You Breathing? Stable Isotopes in the Atmosphere."


Lectures are free, but seating is limited.  Skip the registration line by signing up online, click here.