STATES CHRONICLE – Scientists identified that humans are responsible for the existence of 208 new minerals. Many of these minerals were discovered on slag heaps or in old mine tunnels. There, water and fire contributed to the formation of these new compounds. Researchers claim that we, humans, have a pervasive effect on this planet. Nowadays, new minerals are forming faster than they ever did in the entire Earth’s history.
Robert Hazen from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC stated that these 208 minerals represent only 4% of all the known minerals in the world. Nevertheless, they were unveiled in the last couple thousand years. Most of them were discovered in the last couple of hundred years. That represents a very rapid upsurge of mineral species which do not match in the history of Earth.
The period when oxygen became widespread on the entire surface of our planet two billion years ago was the time which actually bears comparison. Minerals represent particular combinations of chemical substances ordered into crystalline structures. The rocks present on the surface of our planet are developed from distinct aggregations.
Most people may be familiar with mica, quartz, and feldspar. Nevertheless, the ones less known are elyite, calclacite and bobcookite. Besides from specific productive environments like mines, the new minerals were also unveiled on the surface of archaeological artifacts, old geothermal piping, smelters and, surprisingly, inside museum specimen drawers. Prof Hazen together with his team of scientists took care of listing all 208 new minerals, developing a paper which was published in the American Mineralogist.
All the minerals were first approved by the International Mineralogical Association. This group is responsible for operating some very specific definitions regarding the kinds of compounds which may appear among all 5,200 entries that were listed in the official catalog. The group which is not included here is the massive number of mineral-looking materials which have been created by humans for particular purposes.
Prof Hazen claimed that we synthesize thousands of minerals, like building stone, batteries, magnets, laser crystals and semiconductors. All these contain mineral-like substances that are bound to remain in the geological record during the next billion years. This is evidence that our planet has entered a new epoch. Geologists keep count using as a reference point the last ice age from 11,700 years ago, namely the Holocene.
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