Researchers discovered a type of rock called kimberlite, that is signature of diamond deposits, in the permanently frozen region of East Antarctica.

The presence of kimberlite has been a clue to significant deposits of diamonds in several parts of the world, including Africa, Siberia and Australia.

However, recovering Antarctic mineral resources for commercial purposes is currently prohibited, a news channel reported.

"Kimberlites are a volumetrically minor component of the Earth's volcanic record, but are very important as the major commercial source of diamonds and as the deepest samples of the Earth's mantle," researchers said in the journal Nature Communications.

Scientists have now, for the first time, found evidence of kimberlite in Antarctica.

The Australian-led team found three samples on the slopes of Mount Meredith in the northern Prince Charles Mountains.

"The fact they are reporting Group One kimberlites is an important one as diamonds are more likely to be found in this style of kimberlite eruption," said Dr Teal Riley, a survey geologist with the British Antarctic Survey.

Kimberlites were predominantly emplaced into ancient, stable regions of continental crust (cratons), but are also known from continental rifts and mobile belts,  researchers said.

Till now, kimberlites have been reported from almost all major cratons on all continents except for Antarctica.

"Here we report the first bona fide Antarctic kimberlite occurrence, from the northern Prince Charles Mountains, emplaced during the reactivation of the Lambert Graben associated with rifting of India from Australia-Antarctica," researchers said in the journal.

The samples are texturally, mineralogically and geochemically typical of Group I kimberlites from more
classical localities, they said.

Researchers said their ages overlap with those of many kimberlites from other world-wide localities, extending a vast Cretaceous, Gondwanan kimberlite province into Antarctica.

(Agencies)

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