A Town of Diamonds

nordlingen diamonds

Have you heard of Nordlingen? It’s a town in the region of Bavaria, Germany, that was hit by a huge asteroid 15 million years ago, resulting in the strange phenomena… the creation of suevite, a coarse-grained rock containing glass, crystal and diamond.

Travelling at an estimated 25km per second, the huge 1km wide asteroid hit the ground with such force it not only created the huge crater that the town lies in, it also subjected the rock in the ground to such heat and pressure that tiny bubbles of carbon in the ground almost instantaneously turned into tiny diamonds. This rock was then used by settlers when the town was built, unknowing that they were building the town out of diamond encrusted rock!

No more than 0.3mm wide, they’re not economically viable to use (otherwise the town would have been demolished long ago!) nevertheless expert geologists estimate a total of 72,000 tons of microscopic diamond is embedded within the town’s walls!

We thought this was quite fascinating, and apparently so do others as the town has had multiple visits from astronauts and NASA to inspect the sort of rocks they might encounter in space.