Meteoritic or cometary impacts create the temperature and pressure conditions necessary to form nanodiamonds (NDs). The presence of extracted NDs from rocks of the time and locations of extinctions, fires, or known environmental changes are commonly used to confirm that a theorized cosmic impact occurred to trigger those events. Samples were obtained from an archeological site described in the Old Testament of the Bible as having been destroyed by the God of the Old Testament.† To see if the historical description of Biblical events might have been triggered by a cometary impact or explosion, an attempt was made to isolate and quantify NDs from these samples. Significant quantities of the mineral gypsum, CaSO4·2H2O, were present in the samples. An adjusted protocol was developed and used to extract NDs from rock samples to preferentially remove the gypsum in the hope that carbonaceous yield (containing NDs, if present) would improve. The gypsum dissolution resulted in an increase in carbonaceous residue yield ranging from 22% to 46%. However, TEM and X-ray crystallography of the carbonaceous residue indicated no NDs above the detectability limit of the procedure.
† The specific site is proprietary at the time the paper was prepared. The archaeologist leading the project has requested to withhold reaveling the name or location of the Biblical event until he has had an opportunity to publish his archaeological discovery.
"Nanodiamond Extraction at a Potential Impact Location,"
DePaul Discoveries: Vol. 4
, Article 20.
Available at: http://via.library.depaul.edu/depaul-disc/vol4/iss1/20