Marlene McCauley Shares Expertise on WFMY

Posted: August 13, 2014

Professor of Geology Marlene McCauley explained how diamonds are formed for an Aug. 8 "Kids Want 2 Know" segment on WFMY News 2.

Marlene first pointed out that graphite and diamonds are chemically the same — both are pure carbon. The difference is in the bonds between the carbon atoms.

“What is going to happen to this graphite if we take it deep down inside the earth?” she asked. “Those bonds are going to rearrange and we are going to make diamond. They stick together really well and that is what makes diamonds so hard.”

Marlene also spoke about how diamonds, created so deep in the earth, make their way into human hands.

“Now the trick is how do you get it to the surface?” she asked. “All the diamonds that we have are very old. All the diamonds that we mine commercially are very old and come from when the earth was quite young and were brought to the surface of the earth by extremely violent volcanic eruptions that we are very glad do not happen today.”

Story by Rachel Leahy '14

Last Updated: August 13, 2014