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According to a recent article published by Eric Hand in theAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science news, a geologist has discovered a thorny, palmlike plant in Liberia that seems to grow only on top of kimberlite pipes — that source of diamonds formed by ancient volcanic eruptions.

The new plant, identified as Pandanus candelabrum, is the first indicator species for diamond-bearing kimberlite, says Stephen Haggerty, a researcher at Florida International University in Miami and the chief exploration officer of Youssef Diamond Mining Company, which owns mining concessions in Liberia. Haggerty suspects that the plant has adapted to kimberlite soils, which are rich in magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus with copper. 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.

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