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Percentage of minerals known
  
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Tom Mazanec




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PostPosted: Dec 11, 2017 10:09    Post subject: Percentage of minerals known  

Have we discovered most of the minerals in the planet's crust? Half? Ten or Twenty percent? A few percent?
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Roger Warin




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PostPosted: Dec 11, 2017 10:33    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

Maybe 70%. The analysis techniques have become very efficient. But new macrominerals like pezzotaite will be very rare. We discover new species today but they are very small and will not be placed in a showcase.
It is only likely that 50% of Katanga's minerals are known.
But we must agree on the notion of mineral species. The domains of total or partial solid solutions complicate the problem.
There is currently a trend of rationalization. Many minerals lose their status and are either discredited or classified as varieties.
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Dec 13, 2017 22:09    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

I think only 30% have been discovered, or less. There is so much material that has not been adequately analyzed yet. But it depends how small we are going to go... Dr George Rossman said once there would be 10,000 new species when we get the technology adequate for describing "nanominerals". Dr Rossman is the mineralogist who found the new mineral whose abundant micron-size particles give the pink colour to rose quartz. The mineral is not yet named because we don't have the technology to describe all the properties necessary for an official IMA submission. So almost all mineral collectors already have some of it (in their rose quartz), but it has no name and is not counted on the official list of species. There must be thousands more minerals in the same situation.

Be patient! Wait for better technology. Some day, when each of us has a miniature scanning electron microscope in our pocket...

Other factors are economic and education level. Why is the species list for Germany so much longer than the species list for Peru? Gemany has thousands of collectors and at least a dozen mineralogists willing to check things for collectors, so every suspicious crumb gets checked (Grube Clara, Eifel... etc). In Peru, there are hardly any collectors and mineralogists, and little gets checked. There must be many many new minerals left to discover there. From a collectors' point of view, quite little of the Earth's surface has been explored. I spent 12 years in Bolivia, and investigated maybe 50 mines. But Bolivia has 1,000 mines, most of them never visited by a collector. So I'm very optimistic about the probabilities of new finds. Similar analogies could be made for many other countries.
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Riccardo Modanesi




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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2017 03:53    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

Hi to everybody!
I think Alfredo is right: every year some 10 or 15 "new minerals" are approved and some 5 or 10 are discredited because "they belong to already existing species" or "they are a mix of two or more already existing ones." Just not to tell about strange or wrongly spelled names, and then you disclose it's a species you already have in your collection!
Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.

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Hi! I'm a collector of minerals since 1973 and a gemmologist. On Summer I always visit mines and quarries all over Europe looking for minerals! Ok, there is time to tell you much much more! Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2017 04:13    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

Small correction, Riccardo: In recent years the number of new species approved every year has gone up to between 50 to 100! That means the number of approved species goes up approximately by 1 to 2% every year. Most are just for micromounters and those who study polished ore sections, but there are always a few nice macro-species too. In recent years some of the nice new macro-species I particularly liked were chibaite, nikischerite, pezzotaite, luinaite, magnesiofoitite, numanoite, oxydravite, etc... All have nice crystals you can easily see without a loupe.
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Riccardo Modanesi




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PostPosted: Dec 14, 2017 10:38    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

Pezzottaite has been part of my collection for about ten years, I have two rough specimens, a cut one and a cat's eye one. Magnesiofoitite is also well known and I have it! And I can quote londonite, schiavinatoite, demicheleite etc.
Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.

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Hi! I'm a collector of minerals since 1973 and a gemmologist. On Summer I always visit mines and quarries all over Europe looking for minerals! Ok, there is time to tell you much much more! Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.
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David




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PostPosted: Jan 07, 2018 15:39    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

Why should we limit ourselves to this planet, the Universe must be full of minerals unknown to us? Wish l could live a thousand years so l could have a collection of minerals from Mars, Venus, Mercury and countless other planets.
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David




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PostPosted: Jan 07, 2018 15:43    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

I find it funny to ask which is the percentage of unknown things. There's really no good answer for that.
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lluis




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PostPosted: Jan 07, 2018 15:59    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

Hi, David

I agree with you that to ask for what we do not know merits not an answer.

But for minerals, they are chemistry. And chemistry is same in Earth than in Mars or in Moon.
Yes, I think that some mineral found in Moon have no counterpart in Earth, but that simply means that we have not still found it... Let time to time...

Anyway, I think that we know a lot of minerals, and that many new found ones, well, could just belong to a know one series... Just is question of how we classify them, in my humble opinion....

With best wishes

Lluís
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Jan 07, 2018 21:05    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

Unfortunately for mineral-collecting astronauts, the majority of mineral specimens owe their existence to photosynthesis - green plants - ie. our oxygen-rich atmosphere. So the pickings on other planets will be slim.
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dontgogreen




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PostPosted: Jan 08, 2018 09:13    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known  

Speaking of mineral collecting astronauts, what might be the effects on mineral growth of formation in lower gravity? I believe they have done some mineral synthesis experiments on the ISS, but I am unaware of the results. Perhaps we might have chemically similar materials that exhibit novel growth patterns?
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kakov




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PostPosted: Jan 08, 2018 12:02    Post subject: Re: Percentage of minerals known - The space-mineral collecting trip  

(alternative title - Quasicrystals in Carbonaceous Chondrites)

It is such a beautiful thought that an evolution has taken place not only among living beings but also among minerals, and as Alfredo pointed out, the presence of oxygen has been essential. Consequently, we must face that our own planet is by far the best place in the solar system not only for life but also for mineral collecting; both regarding diversity and size of specimens. Hence in search of absolute richness the sci-fi fantasy in this matter should simply stay home…

Nevertheless, if I should dream about a space-(micro-)mineral collecting trip, I would definitely not go to the Moon, nor to Mars, nor any bigger planet, rather to the much smaller asteroids. Why? Not having had the critical size for the heat from radioactive elements to drive rock melting, asteroids have preserved fingerprints from the conditions around the formation of the early solar system. The type of meteorites called chondrites are fragments from asteroids. From our mineralogical perspective, I think the most interesting ones are the carbonaceous chondrites, specially a type called CV3. These are having the biggest CAIs (Calcium Aluminium Inclusions), structures formed under extreme conditions in the very early solar system. Some of the minerals they contain are known also among earth minerals (Perovskite, Spinel, Hibonite, etc). Some are not, such as Icosahedrite https://www.mindat.org/min-40647.html having Quasicrystal structure:

"Quasicrystals are a recently discovered type of solid material that use quite different organizing principles for arranging their atoms. They do not have an atomic arrangement which repeats regularly by translation, but they do have rotational symmetry about axes which can be of ‘crystallographically forbidden’ orders "

The very small Khatyrka meteorite is the Type locality of Icosahedrite together with at least 7 other new minerals. https://www.mindat.org/loc-2717.html
"Icosahedrite was the 1st natural quasicrystal to be recognized (in 2010) as an IMA mineral. Decagonite, with 10-fold symmetry, has now been added to the list. Other mineral species from the meteorite are under review."

"In 2012, Bindi's group published evidence that natural icosahedrite is extraterrestrial in origin. It occurs with other Cu-Al-Fe alloys and a suite of silicates and oxides such as diopside, forsterite, spinel and the extremely high-pressure SiO2 polymorph stishovite (which contains icosahedrite as inclusions!). The assemblage and oxygen isotopic composition are consistent with formation not on Earth, but in a refractory calcium-aluminium-rich inclusion in a CV3 chondritic meteorite."

So yes, it could be fun collecting micro minerals directly on an asteroid, preferably petrologically similar to the one where the Khatyrka meteorite originated. (Or at least one with rocks of the CV3 type)
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