The white and powdery mineral at London’s Natural History Museum has been named instead jadarite after the Serb region where it was found, museum mineralogist Chris Stanley said.
In the 2006 movie "Superman Returns," the superhero’s arch enemy Lex Luthor steals a kryptonite rock fragment from the Metropolis Museum. On the case are written the words "sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with fluorine."
Stanley said he searched the Web using the mineral’s chemical formula — sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide — and was "amazed" to discover the same scientific name used in the film.
"The new mineral does not contain fluorine and is white rather than green, but in all other respects the chemistry matches that for the rock containing kryptonite," Stanley said.
The mineral was unearthed in Serbia by geologists from the mining group Rio Tinto, which eventually asked the Natural Museum of History for help in identifying it because it was unlike anything previously known to science.
Between 30 and 40 new minerals are discovered each year but before a mineral can be classified as new, its chemical properties including its crystalline structure, must be rigorously tested.
Stanley recruited colleagues at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) to examine the "kryptonite" using state-of-the-art X-ray facilities in Ottawa.
Britain’s Press Association news agency quoted Yvon Le Page, an expert at the NRC, as saying it was the "coincidence of a lifetime" to find a mineral with an exact chemical match for fictional kryptonite.
Jadarite will be formally described in the European Journal of Mineralogy later this year.
In the Superman comics, green kryptonite comes from his home planet of Krpton and is extremely harmful to the otherwise invulnerable superhero.
Via: Discovery Channel