Questions for “Extreme pressure? Diamonds can take it”

Diamond holds up under pressure — lots and lots of pressure. The crystal maintained its structure in laser experiments that reached more than five times the pressure at the center of the Earth.

Maciej Toporowicz, NYC/Getty Images

To accompany “Extreme pressure? Diamonds can take it


Before Reading:

1.  In nature, where do diamonds come from (and don’t say the jewelry store)?

2.  What is a diamond made from and what are two interesting facts you can name about this type of gem?

During Reading:

1.  Pascal is a unit of what type of measurement? According to the story, 2 trillion pascals are comparable to what?

2.  Name three different structural forms into which carbon atoms can arrange themselves?

3.  What’s the most stable form of carbon at Earth’s surface?

4.  Do diamonds form at Earth’s surface? If not, where do they form?

5.  How did Amy Lazicki’s team measure the structure of a diamond? And did her team find the structure it was expecting?

6.  Diamond is described as being metastable at low pressure. What does that mean?

After Reading:

1.  When Amy Lazicki’s team wanted to squish its diamond, it used lasers. Why do you think the researchers did that and why do you think they used more than one?