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Scientists catalog world's rarest minerals


Posted on Sunday, 14 February, 2016 | Comment icon 9 comments

Some minerals are extremely rare. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Eurico Zimbres / Tom Epaminondas
Some types of minerals are so rare that the Earth's entire supply of them could fit in to a thimble.
Diamonds might be precious and highly sought-after but they aren't rare - that is at least according to researchers from the US who have put together a list of all the world's rarest minerals.

"Scientists have so far tracked down 5,000 mineral species and it turns out that fewer than a 100 constitute almost all of Earth's crust," said Dr Robert Hazen. "The rest of them are rare, but the rarest of the rare - that's about 2,500 minerals - are only found at five places on Earth or fewer."

"It's the rare minerals that tell us so much about how Earth differs from the Moon, from Mars, from Mercury, where the same common minerals exist, but it's the rare minerals that make Earth special."

One particularly rare mineral - fingerite - has only ever been found on the side of a volcano in El Salvador where it forms in a highly dangerous location under very specific conditions.

Another known as hazenite, which was named after Dr. Hazen himself, exists only in Mono Lake, California where it is formed by microbes when the phosphorus levels in the lake get too high.

Source: BBC News | Comments (9)

Tags: Minerals


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Goodnite on 14 February, 2016, 15:29
Who knew? Fascinating.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Nuclear Wessel on 14 February, 2016, 19:19
I honestly thought it was a slice of pizza upon first glance.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Sundew on 14 February, 2016, 21:49
Many of these minerals could have useful properties, but because of their rarity there may not be enough to experiment with.
Comment icon #4 Posted by nothinglizx2 on 15 February, 2016, 19:00
I thought it was a slice of pizza too. That was actually very interesting and enjoyable to read.
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer on 15 February, 2016, 21:05
Interesting, yes, but fingerite sounds like something you should go to the doctor for. I wonder if thumbite is even rarer since we have less thumbs than fingers. Forgive me, I'm in a more smart-ass mood than usual.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Troublehalf on 16 February, 2016, 3:40
Isn't there theories that diamonds supply is controlled to keep them valuable? I know there are some seriously expensive minerals out there. It's still awesome to know. Imagine a ring or a necklace made out of one. Would be worth a small fortune. I wonder how many people will go to these location specific places to try and get their hands on some just to sell it (or hold it to hope it's price rises, one might have great properties or something which make it valuable).
Comment icon #7 Posted by switchopens on 17 February, 2016, 4:26
I thought I was also looking at a chunk of pizzite.
Comment icon #8 Posted by TripGun on 19 February, 2016, 18:21
That is Grandma's fruitcake.


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