Scientists are hunting for diamond mines in India — with help from earthquake data – by Mohana Basu (The Print India – February 21, 2020)

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A 3-member team is mapping how waves generated by quakes travel through the Earth’s uppermost layers to detect potential diamond mines in the country.

New Delhi: A three-member team of scientists is trying to locate new diamond mines in India by studying how waves generated by earthquakes travel through the rocks of the Earth’s uppermost layers.

The researchers, from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune and IIT (ISM) Dhanbad, are using seismic imaging techniques, similar to medical CT scans, to analyse how waves generated during earthquakes travel through the layers under the Earth’s surface.

Their work is based on their own research published in the Journal of Earth System Science last year. The research found that in regions of India’s diamond corridor — which includes Dharwar, Bastar and Singhbhum blocks in south-eastern India — these waves have a higher velocity than usual.

The team is now working on gathering more data to refine its model to identify regions with potential new diamond reserves. “India had diamond mines in ancient times but now we are a diamond deficient country,” said Shyam S. Rai, a professor at IISER Pune. Rai is part of the team along with Gokul Saha and Shalivahan.

“Unlike resources like oil and coal, there is no definite mechanism through which diamonds can be explored,” Rai added. “If we can at least identify a 1,000 square kilometre area, then detailed investigations for finding the diamond mines can be undertaken.”

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