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In their recently published study, scientists Robert Hazen and Jesse Ausubel divulge why rare minerals are considered to be the new diamonds.
Diamonds are, of course, ‘a girl’s best friend’ and the most precious thing a woman could receive due to its beauty and rarity. However, it seems like diamonds aren’t so rare anymore. In a paper published in the journal American Mineralogist, two experts made a list of 5,000 known minerals on earth and presented a system for classifying rarities of minerals on earth.
The authors of the article were Dr. Robert Hazen of Carnegie Institution, Washington D.C. and Professor Jesse Ausubel of the Rockefeller University, New York. The two were able to conclude that the presence of various minerals on earth is related to our planet’s ability to support life. They estimated that around 2,550 out of 5,000 minerals are the rarest on earth.
The conclusion, however, is that each planet with the ability to support life has a unique fingerprint of rare minerals. It’s also very likely that planets such as Mercury and Mars have much simpler minerals because they cannot sustain life.
In regards to the new findings, Hazen affirms:
Life depends on minerals. Life could not have begun without some of the chemical properties that minerals provided at Earth’s beginning.
The results also show that the minerals are more rare than diamond, which can be found in more than 700 locations in our planet. Among the minerals they catalogued are Bernalite, Ulrichite, Olmiite, Hazenite and Fingerite.
Fingerite is among the rarest minerals they classified. Aside from being seen in just one area in the planet, Fingerite is made up of rare elements, vanadium and copper. These two elements should exist together and form under unique and specific conditions such as near active volcanoes.
On the other hand, Hazenite forms only when the phosphorus concentration in the lake reaches high levels. The microbes in the water have to start excreting hazenite from their cells in order to survive. The tiny, colorless crystals are essentially microbial ‘poop.’
The experts are making fun of this type of mineral: ‘Yes, it’s true – hazenite happens!’
The new catalogue of the rarest minerals on Earth allows scientists to measure how abundant these resources are and to identify the locations where they can be found. For those that can be used in industries, this can be helpful in identifying the characteristics and value of the minerals.
Conclusively, the Earth is full of hidden and rare wonders that are yet to be discovered – that’s for sure. It remains to be seen what new discoveries will be able to distinguish our planet from other planets.
Image Source: gia.edu.