Scientists have discovered a strange new mineral that was formed in a Russian volcano furnace

Scientists have discovered a strange new mineral that was formed in a Russian volcano furnace

Volcanoes are among the most destructive and awe-inspiring phenomena on the planet. But these fire cracks do much more than just destroy. They also create.

In a new study, researchers in Russia reported the discovery of one of these creatures – an unusual mineral that scientists have not previously documented: an attractive and vibrant crystalline material in blue and green that the team called Petrovit.

The mineral is found in the volcanic landscape in the Far East of Russia, above Tolbachik volcano In the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Cryptocrystalline blue lignans from petrovate. (Filatov et al., Mineralogical Magazine, 2020)

Tolbachik’s volcanic history dates back thousands of years, but in recent times, two notable events have emerged: the Great Tolbachik Fissure Explosion of 1975-1976, and a second, lesser follow-up that occurred between 2012-2013.

The force of the explosions during the first event tore apart many Cinder cones In the volcanic complex, unlocking rocky terrain that has since been discovered to be a rich vein of fumarole deposits and unknown minerals never seen anywhere else.

In total, Tolbachik volcano claims to be 130 Domestic mineral type which was It was first identified here, And the last of which is petrovit, a sulfate mineral that forms in blue Spherical aggregates of tabular crystals, Many carry gaseous impurities.

The specimen studied here was discovered in 2000, near the second anthracnose cone associated with an eruption in 1975, and stored for later analysis. It might have been a long time ago, but this analysis now reveals that this vibrant blue mineral exhibits strange molecular features seldom seen before now.

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The copper atom in the crystal structure of petrovate has an unusual and very rare arrangement of seven oxygen atoms, ” He explains Principal researcher and crystallographer Stanislav Filatov of the University of St. Petersburg.

“This coordination is characteristic of only two compounds, as well as saranshite.”

010 Petrovit 4An individual pill of Petrovit. (Filatov et al., Mineralogical Magazine, 2020)

Saranshinite, Set two years ago By another team in St. Petersburg, it was also discovered in Tolbachik – and like Petrovit, it is Eye catching in itself.

In the case of Petrovit, the mineral, believed to crystallize by direct precipitation from volcanic gases, takes the form of a blue cryptocrystalline crust encasing a fine-grained substance.

On a chemical level, petrophyte represents a new type of crystal structure, although there is a similarity to saranchenite, from which it can be produced, hypothetically.

It should be noted that the molecular structure of petrovate – consisting of oxygen, sodium and copper sulfur atoms – is effectively porous in nature, which indicates the interconnected pathways that could enable the sodium ions to migrate through the structure.

Because of this behavior – and if we can replicate the framework in the lab – the team believes this could lead to important applications in materials science, potentially opening new ways to develop cathodes for use in batteries and electrical devices.

010 Petrovit 4Crystalline structure showing sodium migration pathways. (Filatov et al., Mineralogical Magazine, 2020)

“Currently, the biggest problem with this use is the small amount of the transition metal – copper – in the crystal’s crystal structure of the metal,” Filatov says.

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“It may be solved by synthesizing a compound with the same structure as petrovate in the laboratory.”

The results are reported in Mineralogical Journal.

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