Extremely rare blue diamonds lurk deep in Earth’s core

The rarest diamonds on Earth were forged hundreds of miles below its surface, scientists announced on Thursday.

A team of geologists and gemologists from Australia and the U.S. analyzed 46 blue diamonds, including one from South Africa that sold for $25 million in 2016, to determine that the precious gems are formed at depths of 410 miles below the Earth’s surface. The findings were published in the journal Nature.

For perspective, the International Space Station orbits about 250 miles above the Earth and the deepest humans ever have drilled below the surface is about seven miles.

Blue diamonds comprise about 0.02 percent of mined diamonds, according to experts, but they include some of the world’s most exquisite jewels. Their origins long have been shrouded in mystery.

“We knew essentially absolutely nothing about where they grow,” geologist Evan Smith, a lead author of the report and a research scientist at the Gemological Institute of America in New York, told the Washington Post.

The color of these rare gems tipped off scientists to how they were formed. Their striking blue hue, which is partly dependent on the amount of the element of boron the gem captures, is helping scientists to unlock the mysteries deep in the planet’s core.

blue diamond GIA

A blue, boron-bearing diamond that was examined as part of the study announced in Nature.

 (Evan Smith/Gemological Institute of America)

“We always knew there was something special about these diamonds,” geologist Jeffrey Post, curator of the mineral collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, who was not involved with the Nature report, said in the newspaper. Post added that the authors make a “very compelling argument” that these diamonds formed at greater than typical depths.


The scientists concluded that the boron coloring the diamonds is the same as the boron found in the ocean’s floor. However, that spurred more questions.

As the sea floor ages and becomes colder, it eventually becomes denser than the mantle beneath it and sinks. The boron, which is encased by protective rock, heads miles underground to the lower mantle. 

That deep, hidden area of extreme heat and pressure is where rare blue diamonds are formed. And they still must make a journey of millions of years back toward the surface. 

“It gives us a clue as to how the layers of the Earth are recycling,” Megan Duncan, an Earth scientist at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the research, told Scientific American. 

Christopher Carbone is a reporter and news editor covering science and technology for FoxNews.com. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

Massive great white shark filmed just feet away from oblivious paddle boarder

Terrifying images show a great white shark swimming just feet away from a paddle boarder off a Cape Cod beach.

A drone was used to capture the chilling moment when the ocean predator swims near the paddle boarder, who remains oblivious to its presence.

Photographer Cody DeGroff used a drone to capture the incredible images on Sunday morning.


“’Close encounter of a peaceful kind’ – Yesterday morning Cody DeGroff captured these amazing photos of a white shark near a SUP just north of Nauset public beach. The paddle boarder did not see the shark,” explained the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, in a Facebook post on Monday. The post has been shared more than 1,500 times.

Sharks are in the spotlight at the moment. Last month two children were bitten by sharks off Atlantique Beach and Sailors Haven in Long Island.


On Sunday a six-foot great white shark was caught off Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island.

In response to a tweet from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy on Sunday’s sighting, Massachusetts shark researchers tweeted that a similar incident involving a shark and a paddle boarder occurred at Nauset in 2016. “Good reminder to be #SharkSmart and brush up on safety recommendations,” it wrote.

“The inshore waters off many Cape Cod and South Shore beaches are preferred feeding grounds for white sharks. They come to these areas to feed on seals. While white shark encounters with humans are rare, they can happen,” warns the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, on its website.


The group advises swimmers to swim close to shore, where their feet can touch the bottom and to swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups. “Do not swim alone in the ocean at dawn or dusk,” the Conservancy adds.

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia Nicole Darrah contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers


Life on Mars: Amazing models reveal what it could look like

If you’re looking forward to the time when humans can decamp to the Red Planet, you’ll be happy to know that NASA is envisioning what those Martian habitats might look like—and the results are incredible.

The space agency partnered with Bradley University for its Centennial Challenges competition and set a task of designing structures that could house astronauts and can actually survive the Martian terrain, weather and atmosphere.

All the entries of Mars-appropriate housing had to incorporate 3-D printing, as well.

“They are not just designing structures, they are designing habitats that will allow our space explorers to live and work on other planets,” Centennial Challenges program director Monsi Roman said in a statement.


A total of 18 teams competed in the challenge and the five selected below split a $100,000 prize. You can watch virtual model videos for each entry here and learn more about the rules of the multi-year challenge here.  

1st Place: Team Zopherus of Rogers, Arkansas

team zopherus nasa

2nd Place: AI. SpaceFactory of New York

ai spacefactory nasa

3rd Place: Kahn-Yates of Jackson, Mississippi

kahn yates nasa

4th Place: SEArch+/Apis Cor of New York

search apis nasa

5th Place: Northwestern University of Evanston, Illinois

northwestern nasa

Christopher Carbone is a reporter and news editor covering science and technology for FoxNews.com. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

‘Huge’ rattlesnake’s loud warning to Mississippi man goes viral

As a forester, Joseph Hosey comes across snakes pretty much every day. But two weeks ago, a 5-foot eastern diamondback rattlesnake stopped the 37-year-old in his tracks.

Hosey was tired and hungry, walking around a forest in Greene County, Mississippi, on a day with a 110-degree heat index when he spotted the speckled reptile about 20 yards away. The snake was coiled up next to a tree stump, shaking its tail rapidly as Hosey approached.

“He was huge. He was the biggest diamondback I’ve ever seen personally,” Hosey told Fox News, adding that he’s been working as a forester for about seven years now.

Hosey was fascinated by reptiles as a child. He spent hours reading books about them in the library and even had a few as pets.


“My teenage bedroom looked like cross between a library and a zoo — aquariums everywhere. I had different reptiles, from turtles to frogs to snakes,” Hosey recalled.

So, the forester knew to keep his distance as he worked by the snake.

The eastern diamondback is the largest venemous snake in the U.S., reaching up to 8 feet in length as a mature adult. The snake typically keeps quiet and blends into its environment, only making noise or striking if it feels threatened.


Joseph Hosey’s close encounter with an eastern diamondback rattlesnake went viral on July 20.

 (Joseph Hosey )

“Under other circumstances or if outwardly challenged, an eastern diamondback may rattle and blow loudly, and subsequently bite if approached to within striking range,” the Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks explains on its website.

Hosey filmed his hair-raising encounter with the rattlesnake, posting the footage on Facebook. The video has garnered nearly 60,000 views since Monday evening — with dozens of people commenting on the impressive size of the reptile.

“Huge so fat wonder what it ate!” one Facebook user asked.

“Impressive Joseph. She appears to be pregnant so I’d expect to find 16-20 more on your next visit. Much smaller of course lol,” another joked.


“They grow them big in that part of the world,” one man added.

Hosey agreed the snake was large, adding that rabbits probably made up most of its diet.

When he was younger, Hosey admitted he used to catch rattlesnakes for “the fun of it.” But now the 37-year-old simply admires them from afar, setting a good example for his children.

“Fear and ignorance is what kills these animals,” he wrote on Facebook. “I’m walking through their habitat daily and year round. Usually I dont even slow down long enough to get a picture but this guy was impressive. I’m there making a living just like they are and I’m in their home.”

Hosey said he got within 10 to 15 feet of the rattlesnake before it started rattling repeatedly, signaling “it was time to go home.”

“He got my attention,” Hosey joked. “That was my sign to call it a day.”

Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.

GRAPHIC PHOTO: Grizzly bear, 2 cubs killed crossing Montana highway

A female grizzly bear and her two cubs were fatally hit by a vehicle last week in Montana, according to tribal wildlife officials.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Management Program shared a graphic photo of the animals when it spoke about the late Friday night incident in a Facebook post.

“This included a marked female wearing a radio collar as well as 2 cubs of the year (COY), 1 male and a female,” the post said. 

The post added there have now been “4 vehicle deaths on this 13-mile stretch of Hwy 93 in 2018.”


The bear family was trying to make its way across a highway in the Flathead Indian Reservation, tribal wildlife officials said.

“We realize this image invokes strong emotions in people, it does for us too,” they admitted in the Facebook post. “The particular female has been collecting data for us on her movements around the Flathead Indian Reservation. We are saddened to see her and her two cubs were killed on US 93.”


The post recommended being careful while traveling in the reservation – and also took time to speak out about grizzlies’ movements. 

“Grizzly bear populations in the Mission Valley are starting to disperse west of US 93,” tribal wildlife officials shared. “This is a good thing but comes with dangers when encountering vehicles.”

Vehicle collisions are a frequent killer of grizzlies, which are protected as a threatened species in the area.

“Please be cautious and call emergency personnel if you are involved in an accident or if an animal is left on any highway were another driver might also hit it,” the post concluded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Colorado bear reportedly tears apart man’s truck interior

The interior of a Colorado man’s truck was reportedly torn apart on Friday night after a large bear managed to get inside.

Jim Bay recalled hearing a sounding car alarm before going outside to check on his Ford F-150 and soon discovered the animal, he told Fox 31 Denver.


Bay told the outlet that he “opened the door to the truck and there was a large bear.”

“After I hastily left and we watched from the upstairs window, my family and I noticed the truck just rocking back and forth,” he said. “It was, it was really upsetting here.”

The bear reportedly managed to get into the truck by opening the door and ripped apart its seats and roof lining, among other things.

“I should know better but I left the doors unlocked to the truck and I had the gall to leave a pack of gum in the console,” he told the outlet.


The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene, Fox 31 reported, and Bay said “they rigged up a rope and a pulley to open the door from the garage.”

With that system in place, Bay said they were able to open the car door, after which the bear “took off.”


Complete lunar eclipse begins, the longest of this century

Skywatchers around much of the world have begun watching a complete lunar eclipse that is the longest of this century.

The so-called “blood moon,” when it turns a deep red, is visible at different times in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earth’s shadow on the moon.

The total eclipse lasts 1 hour and 43 minutes, with the entire event lasting closer to four hours.

Across Africa, people turned to the sky, watching the reddish shadow slide up the moon’s surface. In Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, hundreds of people hurried to mosques for special prayers often observed during lunar eclipses while clerics on loudspeakers urged them along.

In Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, people at an open-air restaurant admired a rare clear view during the rainy season, comparing a live NASA webcast to what they saw above. Then clouds rolled in.

“Dem yelebesech chereka,” some murmured — Amharic for “blood moon.”

“The reason that the moon turns red is because atmospheric scattering causes red light to pass through the atmosphere and the composition of the atmosphere can change if volcanic eruptions or forest fires occur,” said Tom Kerss, an astronomer with the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

“And the density of dust increasing in the atmosphere can cause the moon to appear a particularly deep red, and indeed it has the same effect on our sunsets and sunrises.”

In a special treat, Mars is also at its closest approach to Earth this week since 2003, making it appear bigger and brighter.

Excited skywatchers on social media shared photos of the bright planet just to the right of the moon.

North America missed out on Friday’s lunar eclipse but can look forward to the next one on Jan. 21, 2019, according to NASA.

Alligator found in basement of Washington D.C. home, police say

A 4-foot alligator was found in the basement of a Washington D.C. home on Wednesday, police said.

Metropolitan Police Department officers and the DC Humane Rescue Alliance were carrying out search warrant at the residence, where they eventually located a 4-to-5-year-old alligator, according to a police report.


Police told Fox News that MPD was assisting on the search warrant after the organization received information about a reptile being housed at that location.

While cautioning the public against keeping alligators as pets, the department tweeted that animal control was trying to find the gator a safe place to live. Police also shared photos of the animal, including one of the gator hanging in a shallow bin of water.


“See you later, Alligator… after ‘while Crocodile! 7D Officers came in contact with a 4-foot alligator while on patrol last night!” the tweet said. “DC Animal Control will be working to have him relocated to a safe habitat. Also, remember that alligators should not be considered house pets!”

Oklahoma girl catches fish with ‘human-like’ teeth

A young girl in Oklahoma said she snagged a “weird” catch over the weekend, reeling in a fish bearing “human-like” teeth.

Kennedy Smith, 11, was on a fishing trip at Fort Cobb Lake with her grandparents and brother on Sunday and got “really excited” when she hooked the fish on her line, she told The Associated Press.

But to Smith’s surprise, her grandmother was bitten by the animal while she was trying to take out the hook.

“I was confused because I knew that fish with teeth are not normal. It was weird,” Smith told the outlet. “They were human-like and that made it even weirder.”

In this July 22, 2018 photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Services, Kennedy Smith, of Lindsay, Okla, holds a pacu, a native South American fish she caught in a southwestern Oklahoma lake in Caddo County, Okla. Game Warden Tyler Howser said the pacu is considered an invasive species and was destroyed. (Tyler Howser/Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Services via AP)

Kennedy Smith, of Lindsay, Okla, holds a pacu, a native South American fish she caught in a southwestern Oklahoma lake in Caddo County, Okla. Game Warden Tyler Howser said the pacu is considered an invasive species and was destroyed.

 (Tyler Howser/Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Services via AP)


Turns out that the strange looking creature was a Pacu, Caddo County Game Warden Tyler Howser told The Associated Press.

“I’ve actually caught one myself,” Howser said. “As soon as I saw (it) I said ‘I know what that is.’”

The fish, which are from South America, have family ties to the Piranha, according to the Oklahoma Game Wardens, who posted about the “unique catch” on Facebook.

While officials indicate the fish can grow to be quite large, the one Smith caught only weighed about a pound, Howser said.


This July 22, 2018 photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Services shows a native South American fish known as a pacu that was was caught in a southwestern Oklahoma lake in Caddo County by 11-year-old Kennedy Smith of Lindsay, Okla. Game Warden Tyler Howser said the pacu is considered an invasive species and was destroyed. (Tyler Howser/Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Services via AP)

While officials indicate the fish can grow to be quite large, the one Smith caught only weighed about a pound, Howser said.

 (Tyler Howser/Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Services via AP)

Officials said the toothy creature likely got into the lake after first being bought as a pet and then getting released once it became too big.

Pacu are considered an invasive species that can destroy the native Oklahoma fish ecosystem and habitat, so the fish Kennedy caught was taken by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and destroyed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Longest total lunar eclipse of the century: What you need to know

The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century occurs on July 27 – this is what you need to know.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the entire Moon enters Earth’s shadow. The July 27 eclipse will last for 1 hour and 43 minutes, according to NASA.

The Moon will turn a red or ruddy-brown color during the “blood moon eclipse,” Space.com reports.


Skywatchers in the U.S., however, will not be able to enjoy the rare event, unless they are willing to travel. The eclipse will be mainly visible in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia, as well as some parts of South America.

“For an especially long-lasting total lunar eclipse of 1 hour and 43 minutes to occur, the moon has to pass through the central part of the Earth’s shadow,” explains EarthSky. “The previous total lunar eclipse on January 31, 2018, didn’t last as long (1 hour and 16 minutes) because the moon passed to the south of shadow’s center; and the next total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019, won’t be as long either (1 hour and 2 minutes) because it’ll pass to the north of the shadow’s center.”

EarthSky notes that the longest possible lunar eclipse is 1 hour and 47 minutes. The longest total lunar eclipse of the last century was on July 16, 2000 and lasted for 1 hour and 46.4 minutes, according to EarthSky.


In what EarthSky describes as a “one of the sky’s wonderful coincidences,” the eclipse will also take place as Earth passes between the Sun and Mars.

July will also see Mars make a close approach, reaching the point in its orbit when it is closest to Earth. The Red Planet will make its close approach on July 31 at a distance of about 35.8 million miles, according to NASA.

Mars, however, will appear brightest from July 27 to July 30, the space agency says.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Northern lights delight: US skywatchers set for glimpse of aurora borealis

Skywatchers across a number of U.S. states that border Canada may get a glimpse of the northern lights thanks to a geomagnetic storm late Monday and early Tuesday.

The northern lights, or aurora borealis, occur when solar wind hits Earth’s magnetic field. “When the charged particles from the sun strike atoms and molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, they excite those atoms, causing them to light up,” explains EarthSky.

“High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on July 24th when the solar wind arrives,” explains Spaceweather.com. “G1-class storms can produce Northern Lights as far south as US states ranging from Maine to Washington.”


Fox 6 in Milwaukee reports that the phenomenon will be visible in northern Wisconsin with the best viewing times between sunset and 1 a.m. CDT. “You will likely have to drive past Green Bay to see anything,” it tweeted Monday.

Q13 Fox also reports that the aurora borealis will be visible in parts of Washington State, noting that the phenomenon occurred around the same time last year.

However, the geomagnetic storm is just a minor one, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Dozens of raccoons die from viral ‘zombie’ outbreak in New York’s Central Park

More than two dozen Central Park raccoons have died in an ongoing viral outbreak that causes “zombie” behavior in the critters, authorities determined.

Of 26 raccoons found dead inside the park since June 24, two tested positive for the canine distemper virus, which doesn’t affect humans but can spread to unvaccinated dogs, officials with the city Health and Parks departments revealed on Saturday. The other 24 are believed to be infected by distemper because their deaths were clustered in such a short time and area.

The latest raccoon corpse was found at East 106th Street and East Drive on Saturday morning.

Parks staff also have witnessed distemper symptoms in living raccoons. “They looked like they were circulating, wandering, having spasms,” said Dr. Sally Slavinski, an assistant director at the Health Department. “Some of the raccoons had some sort of nasal discharge.”

Raccoons with distemper act strange — appearing tame or confused before losing their coordination, becoming unconscious and sometimes dying. They can also get aggressive.


None of the raccoons have tested positive for rabies so far. Once authorities ruled out that deadly virus, they sent samples from two dead raccoons to a state lab. The city found out Friday that they were dealing with distemper.

Masha, a female raccoon, yawns in her wooden refuge inside an open-air cage where she hibernates at the Royev Ruchey zoo in Krasnoyarsk, November 20, 2013. Many animals in the zoo are having difficulties hibernating due to unusually warm temperatures, employees of the zoo said.  REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin (RUSSIA - Tags: ANIMALS ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY) - GM1E9BK1NQK01

Raccoons with distemper can also get aggressive, according to health officials.


While officials stressed humans can’t contract the disease, dog owners in Central Park were alarmed Saturday when told of the outbreak.

“Now I’m freaked out. Holy moly!” said Upper East Sider Bob Cucurullo, 40, with his beagle terrier Charlie. “He sees a raccoon once a week, and he goes nuts after it. Now I’ll have to be careful where I let him go.”

Read more from The New York Post.