Geology

Make your own Diamond

Scientists are still figuring out just how diamonds were formed in the Earth roughly one-to-three billion years ago. But while the research continues, if you wanted to give creating diamonds a try, maybe because you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship or you're looking for an investment, here’s a rough recipe. 

First, it’s important to know that diamonds are made out of carbon. 

So, start by burying carbon dioxide about 100-150 miles deep in the Earth’s mantle. 

Diamond in the Rough

A diamond is a collection of interconnected carbon atoms whose strong chemical bonds make the brilliant, super-hard crystals we know. Watch NC State University researchers create brighter, harder, magnetic diamonds with a few quick blasts of a powerful laser. See how by rearranging the chemical bonds in a diamond, they can quickly and cheaply make the new and improved Q-carbon.

To Lasso an Asteroid

Officially, it’s called the Asteroid Initiative.

The plan was incented by President Barack Obama's call for NASA to send a manned mission to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025, and then aim for flight to Mars in the 2030s.

NASA's initiative offered a number of advantages. It was new and novel; no human had visited an asteroid before. And with very little gravity, the project didn’t require expensive landers and ascent vehicles.

Space Scoop

See the new device NASA is testing to chip pieces off an asteroid. The new tool for astronauts was not developed in NASA labs, but rather at High Point University right here in North Carolina. Scientists are interested in asteroids because they haven't changed much since the dawn of the solar system. Asteroid fragments that the "chip and ship" could capture would help give scientists an early picture of the solar system.

Bays of Mystery

Carolina Bays provide one of the most intriguing geologic mysteries around.

Think about it. Not only are scientists still trying to determine how Carolina Bays were created, the exact number of Carolina Bays is also unknown.

Jerry Reynolds, the Carolina Bay expert with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, tells me he’s seen estimates ranging from 400,000 to 2.5 million bays in the Southeast United States. Bays can be found from Maryland to Georgia, but the majority of Bays are found in North and South Carolina.

The Changing Outer Banks

Ask almost anyone in the country to describe North Carolina’s Outer Banks and they could probably name a few images easily — the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the wild horses, wide strips of sandy beach, and the Wright Brothers monument.

The Outer Banks are so ingrained into our collective national consciousness that people can visualize the coastal region without ever visiting it. The irony is that while images of the Outer Banks remain the same, the islands are constantly changing. They are supposed to.

Clay Capital

Remember that phrase from the famous baseball movie Field of Dreams — “If you build it, they will come.” The character was referring to a baseball field. In other words, if you build the field, fans will come to see a game.

When talking about the pottery industry in North Carolina, a twist on the phrase would be “If Mother Nature deposits it, potters will come.”

The 'it' I’m talking about is clay.