'Ocean of Diamond' May Shimmer on Neptune, Uranus

Molten diamond experiment suggests that liquid space bling abounds
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2010 8:13 AM CST
Neptune may contain oceans of liquid diamond big enough to coat the Earth in bling, according to new research.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Vast oceans of liquid diamond with icebergs of solid diamond floating on the surface may exist on Uranus and Neptune. Scientists melting diamonds—which requires incredibly high pressure as well as temperatures—were surprised to discover that it behaves much like water in its molten state and believe that could explain oddities with planets' magnetic poles, the Telegraph reports.

"An ocean of diamond could help explain the orientation of Uranus' and Neptune's magnetic field," says a scientist at the Lawrence Livermore lab in California. Both planets, believed to be around 10% pure carbon, have magnetic poles out of alignment with their geographic ones. The research, the first to attempt to measure the melting point of diamonds, involved blasting chunks of diamonds with lasers to achieve pressures 40 million times greater than those felt at sea level on Earth.

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