DAVID SCHARF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID SCHARF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Microdiamond. Coloured scanning electron microg- raph (SEM) of an etched microdiamond crystal from Australia. Chemical erosion has given this octa- hedral aggregate crystal a rough surface. Micro- diamonds are diamonds (pure crystals of carbon) which measure less than half a millimetre in any dimension. They are being studied as an alternat- ive to the more expensive larger diamonds used in industry, for instance as heat dissipators or abrasives. Microdiamonds are thought to form with larger diamonds in the Earth's mantle (the layer beneath the crust), or in the ascending magma (molten rock) that can bring the larger stones to the surface. Magnification: x120 at 6x7cm size.
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