New analysis techniques unearth a trove of unusual minerals

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Nataliyamalikite was discovered in Kamchatka’s Avacha Volcano, which emits sulfurous vapor that’s high in thallium.YURI SMITYUK/GETTY IMAGES

THE LANDSCAPE OF Kamchatka Peninsula steams with sulfurous vapor, its 29 active volcanoes forming a hazy backdrop for the region’s herds of reindeer and rivers of salmon. One of the most geologically active places in the world, Kamchatka juts out from the eastern coast of Russia to resemble a larger version of Florida. A process almost like alchemy occurs here: Like a set of roiling cauldrons, Kamchatka’s volcanoes mix unusual combinations of atomic elements to forge minerals that are unlike anything anywhere else in the world.

And in the past few years, researchers have discovered several new minerals on Kamchatka. “They pop up by accident,” says Joël Brugger, a geologist at Monash University in Australia, who helped discover a new mineral on the peninsula called nataliyamalikite in 2017. “You just have to keep your eyes open.” Researchers don’t set out to make these discoveries, usually. Instead, they stumble upon new minerals during their studies of broader geologic processes that might, for example, cause rare metals to collect in unusually large concentrations in a specific volcano.

Continue reading… “New analysis techniques unearth a trove of unusual minerals”

New analysis techniques unearth a trove of unusual minerals

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Nataliyamalikite was discovered in Kamchatka’s Avacha Volcano, which emits sulfurous vapor that’s high in thallium.YURI SMITYUK/GETTY IMAGES

THE LANDSCAPE OF Kamchatka Peninsula steams with sulfurous vapor, its 29 active volcanoes forming a hazy backdrop for the region’s herds of reindeer and rivers of salmon. One of the most geologically active places in the world, Kamchatka juts out from the eastern coast of Russia to resemble a larger version of Florida. A process almost like alchemy occurs here: Like a set of roiling cauldrons, Kamchatka’s volcanoes mix unusual combinations of atomic elements to forge minerals that are unlike anything anywhere else in the world.

And in the past few years, researchers have discovered several new minerals on Kamchatka. “They pop up by accident,” says Joël Brugger, a geologist at Monash University in Australia, who helped discover a new mineral on the peninsula called nataliyamalikite in 2017. “You just have to keep your eyes open.” Researchers don’t set out to make these discoveries, usually. Instead, they stumble upon new minerals during their studies of broader geologic processes that might, for example, cause rare metals to collect in unusually large concentrations in a specific volcano.

Continue reading… “New analysis techniques unearth a trove of unusual minerals”

Deep sea ‘gold rush’ moves closer to reality

Exploiting precious metals on the ocean floor is an idea that has been considered for decades.

A deep sea “gold rush” is a controversial new frontier for mining the ocean floor and it has moved a step closer to reality.  The United Nations has published its first plan for managing the extraction of so-called “nodules” – small mineral-rich rocks – from the seabed.

 

 

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China’s dominance of vital rare minerals challenged by find in Nebraska mine

rare minerals

Matt Joeckel displays a core sample of carbonatite rock containing niobium and rare-earth elements, which was taken from a deposit near Elk Creek, Neb.

The small Nebraska town of Elk Creek (population 112), may not be so small much longer. Reports suggest that the southeastern Nebraska town may be sitting on the world’s largest untapped deposit of “rare earth” minerals, which have proved to be indispensable to a slew of high-tech and military applications such as laser pointers, stadium lighting, electric car batteries and sophisticated missile-guidance systems.

 

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American Economy Vulnerable to Rare Earth Shortages

minerals

China produces nearly all the world’s supply of the minerals.

The United States is too reliant on China for minerals crucial to new clean energy technologies, making the American economy vulnerable to shortages of materials needed for a range of green products — from compact fluorescent light bulbs to electric cars to giant wind turbines.

 

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Is Mining the Moon Vital to U.S. National Security?

mind-blowing-moon-base

Could the moon be mined for rare earth elements?

The seemingly barren moon may actually be a treasure-trove of priceless resources: a potentially bountiful, mineral-rich – yet untapped – cosmic quarry. Still, few see the moon as an alluring mining site, ripe for the picking of rare elements of strategic and national security importance.

 

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World’s Largest Deposits of Lithium Discovered in Afghanistan Could Alter Their Economy

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Pentagon study says Afghanistan may have among the world’s largest deposits of lithium.

A large mineral deposit worth an estimated $1 trillion has been discovered in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials revealed today. The find could change the nation’s economy, alter the war, and contains vast amounts of lithium—found in many of today’s batteries.

 

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Enhanced Foods: Are They Superfoods Or Monsters From The Deep?

Enhanced Foods:  Are They Superfoods Or Monsters From The Deep? 

Off the coast of Peru swim billions of sardines and anchovies: oily, smelly little fish, rich in nutritious omega-3 fatty acids. Their spot on the food chain is low; many will be caught, ground up, and fed as fishmeal to bigger animals.

Continue reading… “Enhanced Foods: Are They Superfoods Or Monsters From The Deep?”