The state is known to have latent gold and diamond store due to the ‘ophiolite’ rocks on its crust.(Reuters file photo for representation)
The state is known to have latent gold and diamond store due to the ‘ophiolite’ rocks on its crust.(Reuters file photo for representation)

Are diamonds really being found in Nagaland? All you need to know

The video clips and photographs showed villagers gathered in large numbers, digging soil on a hillock and displaying small crystalline finds on their palms.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Deepali Sharma | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 28, 2020 02:53 PM IST

Nagaland has been in news after photos and videos of diamonds being found in Wanching, a village in Mon district of the state, went viral on social media. The video clips and photographs showed villagers gathered in large numbers, digging soil on a hillock and displaying small crystalline finds on their palms. But are those crystallines really diamonds? Not quite.

Here is all you need to know about Nagaland’s diamond rush

1. The rush started early this week. The district administration is trying to solve the mystery as the stones were found near the surface and not deep underground.

2. The state government had also deployed a team of geologists to look into the issue.

3. The team of four geologists constituted by the geology and mining department on Saturday has reportedly affirmed that the glittering rocks are not diamonds but just quartz crystals. The team that was supposed to reach the district by November 30 or December 1 reached early to investigate after all the media buzz around the rocks.

4. The state is known to have latent gold and diamond store due to the ‘ophiolite’ rocks on its crust. According to geologists, ‘ophiolite’ refers to slices of what used to be ocean floors before thrusting with the continental crust more than 65 million years ago to form Himalayan peaks of today.

5. As per an Indo-German study published in an issue of journal ‘Current Science’ three years ago, the Indo-Myanmar ranges contain a manganese-consisiting mineral called “manganilmenite” which is found in the ophiolite rocks and hence can potentially be a site for micro diamonds. Micro diamonds are minuscule-sized diamonds with size less than one millimeter.

6. Bibhuranjan Nayak of the CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology in Bhubaneswar, one of the authors of the study said that manganese-rich manganilmenite is a rare element and is known to be diamond indicators.

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7. Professor GT Thong from Nagaland University’s department of geology had disputed the diamond claim and asserted that the glittering stones are not diamonds. They are just quartz crystals that are commonly found in Nagaland, he said adding that some people were trying to misguide poor villagers by spreading this false narrative in the district.

8. The village council too doubted the diamond claim and had prohibited the villagers from posting any photos or videos relating to the stones on the internet. The council has also restricted the entry of outsiders in the village, especially of the diamond hunters.

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