Minerals, Metals, and Other Materials

Rocks and Minerals

Are there any diamond mines in the United States?

The United States has no commercial diamond mines. The only significant diamond deposit in North America is Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, Arkansas. It is on government-owned land and has never been systematically developed. For a small fee, tourists can dig there and try to find diamonds. The largest crystal found there weighed 40.23 carats and was named the “Uncle Sam” diamond.

Diamonds crystallize directly from rock melts rich in magnesium and saturated with carbon dioxide gas that has been subjected to high pressures and temperatures exceeding 2,559°F (1,400°C). These rock melts originally came from deep in Earth’s mantle at depths of 93 miles (150 kilometers).

Diamonds are minerals composed entirely of the element carbon, with an isometric crystalline structure. The hardest natural substance, gem diamonds have a density of 3.53, though black diamonds (black carbon cokelike aggregates of microscopic crystals) may have a density as low as 3.15. Diamonds have the highest thermal conductivity of any known substance. This property enables diamonds to be used in cutting tools, because they do not become hot.


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