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Diamonds Pinpoint Start of Colliding Continents

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Uploaded on Aug 31, 2011

Jewelers abhor diamond impurities, but they are a bonanza for scientists. Safely encased in the super-hard diamond, impurities are unaltered, ancient minerals that can tell the story of Earth's distant past. Carnegie's Steve Shirey analyzed data from the literature of over 4,000 of these mineral inclusions to find that continents started the cycle of breaking apart, drifting, and colliding about 3 billion years ago.

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