Possible diamonds found in Antarctica

BY newsdesk  December 17, 2013 at 5:23 PM EDT

Antarctica

Deposits of a type of rock that can contain diamonds were found in eastern Antarctica. Still by PBS NewsHour

A new type of “ice” has been found in Antarctica — the diamond variety.

Or, at least the type of rock that can contain diamonds.

Deposits of kimberlite, the rare, igneous rock that often holds diamonds inside, have been found in the Prince Charles Mountains in the eastern side of Antarctica. The Australian-led team that found them reported finding the deposits near Mount Meredith in East Antarctica. The researchers wrote about the discovery in the journal Nature Communications.

No diamonds were found in the initial discovery, though researchers believe they are there. Greg Yaxley, of the Australian National University, told Reuters that “it would be very surprising” if no diamonds were in the kimberlite.

However, there will be no immediate rush to mine the supposed deposits. Mining in Antarctica was banned for at least 50 years after the 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.