There’s diamond under them thar plants. A geologist has discovered a thorny, palmlike plant in Liberia that seems to grow only on top of kimberlite pipes—columns of volcanic rock hundreds of meters across that extend deep into Earth, left by ancient eruptions that exhumed diamonds from the mantle. If the plant is as choosy as it seems to be, diamond hunters in West Africa will have a simple, powerful way of finding diamond-rich deposits. Prospectors are going to “jump on it like crazy,” says Steven Shirey, a geologist specializing in diamond research at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.
Miners have long known that particular plants can signal ore-bearing rocks. For example, Lychnis alpina, a small pink-flowering plant in Scandinavia, and Haumaniastrum katangense, a white-flowered shrub in central Africa, are both associated with copper.
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Interview - Mahmud Johnson is founder and chief executive of J-Palm Liberia, an oil palm processing business he founded in 2013. He is one of a new group of young Liberians who attended university in the United States but returned to their country rather than settling abroad. Their contributions are essential elements in Liberia's attempt to regain momentum towards peace and prosperity after a quarter century of conflict and unrest, followed by the devastation of Ebola. He talked to AllAfrica.com about his work and his goal that it will be a tool to address Liberia's social problems and to create jobs.
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