Oceans of liquid diamond, filled with solid diamond icebergs, could be floating on Neptune and Uranus, according to a recent article in the journal Nature Physics.
Diamond is an incredibly hard material. That alone makes it difficult to melt. But diamond has another quality that makes it even more difficult to measure its melting point. Diamond doesn't like to stay diamond when it gets hot. When diamond is heated to extreme temperatures it physically changes, from diamond to graphite. The graphite, and not the diamond, then melts into a liquid. The trick for the scientists was to heat the diamond up while simultaneously stopping it from transforming into graphite.
An ocean of diamond could help explain the orientation of the planet's magnetic field as well, said Eggert. Roughly speaking, the Earth's magnetic poles match up with the geographic poles. The magnetic and geographic poles on Uranus and Neptune do not match up; in fact, they can be up to 60 degrees off of the north-south axis. A swirling ocean of liquid diamond could be responsible for the discrepancy. Up to 10 percent of Uranus and Neptune is estimated to be made from carbon. A huge ocean of liquid diamond in the right place could deflect or tilt the magnetic field out of alignment with the rotation of the planet.
Diamond Oceans Possible on Uranus, Neptune.
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