A natural shockwave event led to the formation of a new crystalline polymorph of carbon in gneisses from the Popigai crater, Russia. The new species occupies the interior of a multiphase assemblage and is entirely enveloped by lonsdaleite and graphite. Polishing hardness of this new phase is greater than that of lonsdaleite. Micro-beam synchrotron X-ray diffraction, imaging and fluorescence studies revealed a pure transparent carbon phase. The diffraction pattern is indexed in terms of a cubic cell (a = 14.697 Angstrom, space group Pm3m.). This species was neither encountered in static or dynamic high-pressure experiment nor predicted by theoretical calculations. (C) 2003 Published by Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS on behalf of Academie des sciences.