DAVID SCHARF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID SCHARF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Microdiamond. Coloured scanning electron microgr- aph (SEM) of a pseudo-cubo-octahedral microdiamond crystal from Siberia, Russia. This complex structure is very rare. Microdiamonds are diamonds (pure crystals of carbon) which measure less than half a millimetre in any dimension. They are being studied as an alternative to the more expensive larger diamonds used in industry, for instance as abrasives or heat dissipators. Microdiamonds are thought to form either with larger diamonds in the Earth's mantle (the layer beneath the crust), or in the rising magma (molten rock) that can bring the larger stones to the surface. Magnification: x189 at 6x7cm size.
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