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Antarctica may have a new type of ice - diamonds

Published on Dec 18, 2013 12:16 AM
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Melting ice shows through at a cliff face at Landsend, on the coast of Cape Denison in Antarctica on Dec 12, 2009. A type of rock that often bears diamonds has been found in Antarctica for the first time in a hint of mineral riches in the vast, icy continent that is off limits to mining, scientists said on Tuesday. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

OSLO (REUTERS) - A type of rock that often bears diamonds has been found in Antarctica for the first time in a hint of mineral riches in the vast, icy continent that is off limits to mining, scientists said on Tuesday.

A 1991 environmental accord banned mining for at least 50 years under the Antarctic Treaty that preserves the continent for scientific research and wildlife, from penguins to seals.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, an Australian-led team reported East Antarctic deposits of kimberlite, a rare type of rock named after the South African town of Kimberley famed for a late 19th century diamond rush.

"These rocks represent the first reported occurrence of genuine kimberlite in Antarctica," they wrote of the finds around Mount Meredith in the Prince Charles Mountains.

 
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