First reported by the Christian Science Monitor, the crater, which rests in the upper reaches of Siberia, was left by an asteroid that crashed into Earth 35 million years ago, creating an impact zone that’s 62 miles in diameter. In the intervening eons, it’s believed to have spawned enough diamonds to power the global market for the next 3,000 years. By context, the next biggest Russian reserve at the Yakutia mines is believed to have one billion carats—several orders of magnitude less than this current haul.
What makes these diamonds especially valuable to prospective buyers is the fact that they’re impact diamonds, or diamonds formed as a result of an asteroid or meteor crashing into the carbon-based compound graphite. According to IDEX, these are diamonds that can never be used as jewels, but rather are extremely valuable for their industrial applications. For starters, Russian officials claim these newly revealed diamonds, known as impactite, are twice as hard as normal diamonds, while others value these diamonds for their grain size and abrasive cuts.