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Uranus and Neptune May Have Diamond Oceans

According to Discovery News, there may be solid diamond icebergs floating in the oceans of Uranus and Neptune. The report stated that based upon the melting point of diamonds, there may indeed be actual oceans of diamonds on some of the distant planets in the solar system.

The underlying idea that suggests the existence of diamonds on distant planets is simple: diamonds tend to behave like water when exposed to extreme temperatures (melting or freezing). The challenge is that diamonds are an extremely hard material, making them very difficult to melt. Furthermore, when exposed to hot temperatures, diamonds physically transform to graphite. Once a diamond has transformed to graphite, it can then be melted into liquid.

Melting diamonds also requires a high pressure environment. Neptune and Uranus are planets that both have a high pressure and a high temperature.

According to the study, scientist mimicked the planets’ atmospheres. They then took a tiny diamond and bombarded it with lasers at ultra high pressures. The diamond liquefied at an extremely high pressure, incomparable to anything on Earth. When they slowly began to reduce the temperature and pressure, solid diamond clusters appeared. They then floated, which was completely unexpected. The scientists reasoned that the diamonds were behaving like water.

The researchers said that the existence of diamond oceans on Neptune and Uranus would also explain the nature of their unusual magnetic fields. Unlike on earth, Uranus and Neptune’s magnetic poles don’t match up with their geographic poles.

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