Earth Science, Geology and the Formation of Diamonds

Dustin Lemick


Dustin Lemick


Geology is a type of earth science that has to do with the study of the earth and its structure. This includes things like the rock cycle, plate tectonics, how and where oil deposits form, and how diamonds are made. Geologists study the history of our planet, explore the processes at work today, and help to predict things like where floods or volcanic eruptions might occur.

The Six Branches of Earth Science

The main branches of earth science include geology, oceanography, meteorology, climatology, environmental science, and astronomy. Geology is specifically the study of solid objects, including how rocks and minerals are formed. Oceanography is the study of the oceans and the living things they contain. Meteorology is the study of weather patterns on Earth, while climatology involves studying the atmosphere. Environmental science works to understand how people impact their environment. And astronomers study space and our place in the universe.

Minerals and Rocks: How Do Diamonds Form?

Diamonds are not formed from lumps of coal, although that’s a very persistent myth that’s even been published in books. Instead, naturally occurring diamonds form when carbon deposits up to 125 miles beneath Earth’s crust are subject to high temperatures and pressure. Some diamonds form in days, while others take millions of years to fully form. Most natural diamonds on Earth are thought to be millions of years old. Colored diamonds occur when trace elements get into the carbon during the diamond formation process.

A Glossary of Geology Terms

Like all fields of study, geology has its own vocabulary. Common terms anyone interested in geology should know include:

  • Acasta Gneiss: Discovered in Canada, this is presently considered to be the oldest rock ever found on Earth.
  • Andesite: Volcanic rock that is both dark-colored and fine-grained
  • Basalt: This rock is fine-grained, dark-colored, and made from volcanic ash. It has high levels of magnesium and iron.
  • Cabochan: There are many different methods for cutting a gemstone, including this method that results in a convex surface.
  • Carbonaceous: Rocks are made of different minerals and materials, and carbonaceous rocks are mostly made up of carbon.
  • Carbon Cycle: The movement of carbon between the main places it is stored, such as living creatures, earth, oceans, and the atmosphere, through processes that include decomposition, lithification, erosion, burial, and photosynthesis
  • Core: The center of Earth, which is roughly spherical and made mostly of nickel and iron. The outer part of the core is about 5,000 kilometers underneath Earth’s crust.
  • Mantle: Between Earth’s crust and the core lies the mantle, which is made up of both upper and lower zones.
  • Geologic Time: The various time periods that occurred as Earth was formed are measured from evidence found inside of rocks.
  • Transition Zone: Within Earth’s mantle are upper and lower zones, and the transition zone lies between them. There are different levels of seismic activity in the upper and lower zones.

What Do Geologists Do?

Geologists study Earth and its processes. They use this information to improve the quality of life on Earth for humans. There are many different career paths open to geologists. The daily work of geologists depends on their specialties. Engineering geologists, for example, study rock, soil, and groundwater to understand the impact that building on that land will have and whether it can support heavy structures.

Geology Career Options

Students with a degree in geology can pursue a variety of occupations. Some people move into teaching. Geologists also work for governments and businesses to ensure that planned infrastructure projects will be long-lasting and safe. And petroleum geologists might work for oil companies to help them identify where new oil deposits might be found.

Dustin Lemick


Dustin Lemick

Dustin Lemick is the Founder and CEO of BriteCo and a third-generation jeweler with over thirteen years of retail jewelry experience. He holds a Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has in-depth knowledge and expertise in appraisal systems, diamond and gemstone markets, retail pricing models, insurance replacement models, and jewelry quotation pricing systems.