Diamonds and media; the newest distortion of facts


Diamonds are fascinating; unlike any other precious mineral they draw our attention. It is not first time diamond has been used to stir common people’s imagination. I remember a few relatively recent: either about diamonds raining within meteorites or about giant diamonds in the nucleus of stars were; in both cases news distorted scientific information to get the attention of masses (and selling printed paper or its digital version in the process).

This time, my attention was drawn into a Geological Society of Africa (GSAf) via Amazing Geologist post in Facebook: Unique diamonds discovered in frozen lava sample from Kamchatka. Yes, I couldn’t resist the bait, followed the link and read further. After all it’s the same old story, again. Apparently “The solidified lava of the Tolbachik eruption (2012-2013) carries within it a new and never-before-seen type of diamond. They are named — Tolbachik diamonds.” How are they unique? Are they unlike other diamonds? Nothing said in the article.

Apparently they are large: The post opens with “The diamonds are large and of a new type, the Ministry of Science of the Russian Federation reports.” There is even a picture with large sized diamonds. No, it’s not a picture of the diamonds portrayed in the text. Why am I not surprized?

The text closes saying that “In size the Tolbachik diamonds are large enough for the lava rocks — from 250 to 700 microns.” After all, they are small, very small, half a mm in size. Remember, size does matter in diamonds. Just ask your wife.

I am sure this news will be reproduced globally in mainstream media. After all, nowadays it’s silly season all year. Seeing it published without an hint of critique by respected institutions such as the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf) or websites with Geology in their name is over the top for me. But that’s me; I am getting old.

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