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New Research Shows Gems Can Form in Hours—It Doesn’t Take Millions of Years

How long does it take gems to form? Thousands of years? Millions? If you do a quick search on Google for how long it takes diamonds to form, you’ll see several popular results claiming it takes 1 to 3.3 billion years.

Research emeralds, and you’ll get answers that say their formation takes up to 100,000 years. Look up topaz or aquamarine, and Google will tell you they require hundreds of thousands of years to form.

These quick Google searches might make it seem like gem formation is evidence of the earth’s old age. But the truth is that scientists don’t really know how long it took to make the gems we have under the earth’s surface today. Instead, the claim of billions of years comes from a biased worldview that the earth is billions of years old.

In fact, a new study by Rice University shows that certain gems can form in hours. Yes, you read that correctly—mere hours, not always days or years!

This study supports what Answers in Genesis has been saying all along. Under the right conditions, such as those of the Flood, gems can form quickly instead of over long periods of time.

How Gemstones Form

To understand the significance of this new study, it’s important to understand how gems form. The formation process differs based on the gemstone in question, but almost all gems require several factors: heat, pressure, and room to grow.

Diamonds, for example, form in liquid magma far below the earth’s surface. Volcanic eruptions then bring those diamonds closer to the surface where people can find them. You can read Christian geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling’s explanation of how diamonds formed during the week of Creation.

Gems like aquamarine, emeralds, topaz, quartz, zircon, and garnet usually form in pegmatites, which are igneous rocks that create vein-like patterns under the earth as magma rises to the surface and cools.

As magma enters its later stages of cooling, superheated water begins to separate from it, forming pegmatites. That water is rich in ions and minerals, which can flow much more rapidly than in the magma itself. As a result, the ions and minerals in this superheated water can create crystals—often much faster than in other types of igneous rock.

Yet even secular geologists admit that huge catastrophes (like asteroids hitting the earth) are capable of creating the conditions necessary to form gemstones.

But what about a global Flood? Dr. Snelling points out that Noah’s Flood produced the perfect conditions for gem formation. As crustal plates shifted and collided, they formed new mountains, creating the perfect environment to form gemstones like emeralds.

Those same conditions forced to the surface the diamonds that formed during Creation week, according to Dr. Snelling.

Why Gems Can Form in Hours

The reason many experts believe that gems take at least tens of thousands of years to form is that, when magma is cooled rapidly, it produces microscopic crystals. Geologists assume that, if that same magma cools over hundreds of thousands of years, those crystals would be larger.

But Cin-Ty Lee, Professor of Geology at Rice University, says pegmatites can cool relatively quickly. Sometimes they cool in just a few years—and yet can contain huge gemstones.

To find out how that could be, Cin-Ty, Rice graduate student Patrick Phelps, and Southern California geologist Douglas Morton studied quartz samples they took from a pegmatite mine in Southern California. Some of the crystals were a half-inch wide and over an inch long.

The findings of the study showed that gems can grow in pegmatites faster than anyone has predicted. In fact, Phelps remembers how shocked he was when he saw the numbers their research produced.

“When I finally got one of these numbers, I remember going into Cin-Ty’s office, and saying, ‘Is this feasible? I don’t think this is right,’” Phelps said. “Because in my head, I was still kind of thinking about a thousand-year time scale. And these numbers were meaning days or hours.”

As you can see, it doesn’t have to take thousands or millions of years to create gemstones.

All it takes is the right conditions—conditions that would have been possible due to the global Flood 4,300 years ago. When we look at the Bible, we see it describe the exact conditions gems need in order to form—and quickly.

Once again, scientific research affirms what the Bible says about our young earth.

Get the Latest in Creation Science With Answers.tv!

This study was discussed in one of our recent live news broadcasts featuring Bodie Hodge, Avery Foley, and Tim Chaffey. You can watch it right here.

Other topics covered in that episode:

  • Fossils of Ice Age manatees discovered in Texas
  • Entire Bible translated into 700 languages; 5.7 billion people now have access to Scripture
  • France moves to ban homeschooling in 2021
  • Megalodon's hugeness was “off-the-scale”—even for a shark
  • And more…

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