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[VIDEO] Newly Discovered Mineral in WA is Unlike Anything Else You've Seen

A new mineral called putnisite has been discovered in a remote part of Australia. Formed into small, brittle cubic crystals, the newly identified minera...

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|May 2|magazine5 min read

A new mineral called putnisite has been discovered in a remote part of Australia.  Formed into small, brittle cubic crystals, the newly identified mineral was found near Lake Cowan, north of Norseman in Western Australia and is the most recent addition to the estimated four thousand known minerals found on volcanic rock.

The putnisite findings, published in Mineralogical Magazine, describe how the mineral’s unique combination of strontium, calcium, chromium, sulphur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, make the mineral distinct and incomparable to any other type of mineral.

"What defines a mineral is its chemistry and crystallography," University of Adelaide's Peter Elliott, a researcher who found the mineral at Lake Cowan, in Western Australia, said in a statement. "By x-raying a single crystal of mineral you are able to determine its crystal structure and this, in conjunction with chemical analysis, tells you everything you need to know about the mineral.”

According to Elliot, most minerals belong to a family or group of related minerals. Putnisite, which contains tiny crystals that are no larger than 0.5mm in diameter and appears to have dark, pink spots on a dark green and white rock, is not like related to anything found before.

“Nature seems to be far cleverer at dreaming up new chemicals than any researcher in a laboratory,” Elliott said.

The mineral was found while a mining company was prospecting and given to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, which then sent the mineral to Peter Elliot.

The recently identified mineral is named after mineralogists Andrew and Christine Putnis, of the University of Münster, Germany, for their role in understanding crystal growth and dissolution processes.

Putnisite’s commercial is still yet to be determined.