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26 Nov-17:11:43 Re: how hard is it to find a new mineral species? (Jordi Fabre)
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26 Nov-16:04:31 Minerals to be found in only one location (David)
26 Nov-15:28:25 Re: how hard is it to find a new mineral species? (David)
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How hard is it to find a new mineral species?
  
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David




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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2022 18:03    Post subject: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

Hello all!

What do you think, how hard is it to find a new mineral species these days? Considering there are already almost 6,000 identified, according to IMA.
If you were to look for a new mineral, where would you start from?

I know that at least one person on this forum has a mineral named after him, so it might just be the right place to ask :)

Many thanks!

David
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Romain M




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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2022 18:09    Post subject: Re: How hard is ti to find a new mineral species?  

I may be wrong, but I would say several mineral species/varieties are discovered every year.
But in general, only visible through a microscope and not very noteworthy for collectors ;)

Macro species is something else and probably what you are referring too ;)
I would not answer in full to your question but I would add another one actually: how many significant discoveries in the last 25 years? On a collecting point of view with crystals developped on the cm range.
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SteveB




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PostPosted: Nov 17, 2022 20:50    Post subject: Re: How hard is ti to find a new mineral species?  

New? probably difficult, but I think more problematic is multiple species actually being the same Mineral defined from say different locations by different means such as a seam split across the boundary where a country or continent was split by tectonic shift. Wasn't it fairly recent in history that it was accepted that landmasses were originally joined so that it could be said this specimen on the east coast of this country is identical to this other specimen on the west coast of this other place. Both having been discovered and named independently by the different region's geologists. This problem has plagued the botanical world too with many species being removed from the records as modern genetic techniques can establish duplicate specimens and clear up the naming. There are multiple vectors to allow seeds to cross oceans so the same plants can establish themselves all-round the place and be "discovered and named" independently. I guess there are unnamed specimens in museum collections that have yet to be examined. As technology improves, we get better methods to examine and classify specimens and of course only the attractive ones get the attention and many examples could be easily mislabeled in the first place. Auditing is going to be tricky and time consuming to find the truth of every collected item.

In the craft and jewelry spheres people tend to often give new and meaningless names just to sell stuff. For example, nobody buys their girlfriend a brown diamond ring, however, call it champagne or Whisky diamond and it sells at a markup but it's not a new species.

Something I've seen in recent years under differing names is Ocean Picture Stone which seemed to be unique to a small holding in British Columbia and I've seen described as a type of calcite, a type of chalcedony, a type of chrysoprase. Just shows as samples move from simple examinations to lab tested its definition can shift on what is a new species it seems, it's a colorful mineral so as pieces are cut and sold on it also acquires new marketing names to sell it as a rarity.

Unless there is something spectacular about it, I reckon a ton of new species are overlooked because they just look like a regular rock to everyone so until someone spends time to analyze it will just go unnoticed and of course there is a lot of "underground" to be explored and there are industrial grown minerals floating around to confuse many. I bet there is wiggle room in defining a new mineral species too.
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Volkmar Stingl




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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2022 00:11    Post subject: Re: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

Sometimes I have the impression that one must only analyze often enough and long enough, and especially set new limits of element contents, then one will "find" a lot of new minerals (mostly with unpronounceable names).... ;-)

Don't take my comment too serious,

Volkmar
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Michael F Cox




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PostPosted: Nov 18, 2022 10:20    Post subject: Re: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

It is not difficult, but it requires a lot of experience, specifically the ability to recognize and not waste time on known minerals, and the ability to use laboratory equipment to initially determine if the find is potentially new. The characterization of a new find is another story. Solving the formula and structure of a new species can range from relatively easy to very difficult. Characterization generally rises to a very small group of experts that are among the world's best crystallographers and mineralogists. It requires very expensive electro-optical and physical testing analytical equipment.

I have a presentation on the subject of finding new mercury minerals, but this Forum does not allow posting of pdfs nor my putting a link to the pdf in a message, so I will have to figure out a work around and report back.

cheers,

Michael Cox
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Nov 19, 2022 16:54    Post subject: Re: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

Around a hundred or so new mineral species are approved by the International Mineralogical Association every year. ("IMA approval" is only given after scientists have studied the material sufficiently well to be sure it is truly a new species and not just a duplicate or variety of something already known before.) And many of these new species are discovered by amateur collectors - mainly the ones who own microscopes and study tiny things very carefully, the ones we call "micromounters". Collectors of only cabinet display specimens could hardly ever be expected to discover anything truly new.
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Roger Warin




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PostPosted: Nov 19, 2022 17:10    Post subject: Re: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

Hello,
The control of the IMA is serious.
This is understandable because there are attempts at fraud.
However, the control is so strict that the IMA does not accept a polymorph of formicaite, a mineral accepted in 1998.
Formicaite is the calcium formate Ca(HCOO)2.
The reason for the refusal, this new polymorph is man-made.
With the pollution of a lake by the residues of Agent Orange, man intervened by killing the bacteria that fed on formic acid, this organic precursor.
I believe that formic acid is not an organic derivative but only a simple primordial molecule like methanol. Moreover, all these small molecules are soluble in water, a solvent that is anything but organic.
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David




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PostPosted: Nov 26, 2022 15:16    Post subject: Re: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

Michael F Cox wrote:
It is not difficult, but it requires a lot of experience, specifically the ability to recognize and not waste time on known minerals, and the ability to use laboratory equipment to initially determine if the find is potentially new. The characterization of a new find is another story. Solving the formula and structure of a new species can range from relatively easy to very difficult. Characterization generally rises to a very small group of experts that are among the world's best crystallographers and mineralogists. It requires very expensive electro-optical and physical testing analytical equipment.

I have a presentation on the subject of finding new mercury minerals, but this Forum does not allow posting of pdfs nor my putting a link to the pdf in a message, so I will have to figure out a work around and report back.

cheers,

Michael Cox



Hello Mr. Cox,

I was very happy to read your comment. Thank you, now I know at least two people here with a mineral named after themselves :)
For sure Hg minerals represent a very interesting research topic, since there are so many of them, most of which rare or very rare.
I don't think that identifying a new mineral is a task for one man, a lot of help is needed.

I would say that one should look for new minerals in the most promising locations: newly opened mines, hard to reach locations (Greenland, Antarctica, deep ocean trances, fumaroles), but also remote volcanoes, meteorites and areas subjected to intense metamorphism. I would also add the samples in lesser-known mineralogical museums.

For sure I would love to see a presentation on the topic of finding new mineral specimens.

Thank you!

Regards,
David
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David




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PostPosted: Nov 26, 2022 15:28    Post subject: Re: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

alfredo wrote:
Around a hundred or so new mineral species are approved by the International Mineralogical Association every year. ("IMA approval" is only given after scientists have studied the material sufficiently well to be sure it is truly a new species and not just a duplicate or variety of something already known before.) And many of these new species are discovered by amateur collectors - mainly the ones who own microscopes and study tiny things very carefully, the ones we call "micromounters". Collectors of only cabinet display specimens could hardly ever be expected to discover anything truly new.


Hello, Alfredo,

Thank you for your comment! That is encouraging actually, if a hundred or so minerals are being added to the list every year, it means there should be many more waiting to be identified.

I am also happy to know that many minerals are being discovered by amateur collectors. I suppose that usually happens with the help of scientists, by providing them the most promising samples to analyze.

Only recently I've started looking into miniature specimens and very rare minerals and playing with the microscope. As long as I enjoy doing this, it is worth my time.

Regards,

David
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Nov 26, 2022 17:11    Post subject: Re: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

Michael F Cox wrote:
....this Forum does not allow posting of pdfs nor my putting a link to the pdf in a message, so I will have to figure out a work around and report back.

Hi Michael,
This Forum allow links, please read: https://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?t=74

We also use PDF but for that it should be done through the administrators and if that PDF adds proper/right information to the FMFers

Jordi
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Roger Warin




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PostPosted: Nov 27, 2022 14:37    Post subject: Re: How hard is it to find a new mineral species?  

Hello Peter,
I have a fundamental problem (which I ruminate) for you, which concerns a kind of primordial chemistry.
Where man has not contaminated anything (like Agent Orange), where organic chemistry is not at the origin of new minerals, it is in cold meteorites and in cometary nuclei.
These rocks have never experienced a temperature above 100°C. The pressure there is about zero. And these (very) carbonaceous meteorites have a porosity of around 40%.
Many silicates are altered by water (of cosmic origin) to phyllosilicates.
With their sheets, the phyllosilicates have the ideal structure to carry out catalysis.
INCREDIBLY, these carbonaceous chondrites contain almost 10% carbonates.
What is origin of these carbonates ? (I have an idea).
As for the comets, I believe that they are similar bodies which have escaped from the euclyptic plane and on which H2O gas has condensed in abundance.

Mineralogical composition of Tagish Lake C2 ungr. (in %)

• Olivine (forsterite, Fo100) 7.0
• Fe – Mg carbonates 8.0
• Pyrrhotite 5.3
• Pentlandite 0.3
• Magnetite 4.5
• Saponite – serpentine 71.2
• TOTAL 100.0
• Grain density 2.84 g/cm³
• Porosity 41%!!!

The Tagish Lake meteorite fell at 16:43 UTC on 18 January 2000 in the Tagish Lake area in northwestern British Columbia, Canada.
Tagish Lake fragments are of a primitive type, containing unchanged stellar dust granules and multiples lithologies, one of which is rich in carbonates.
Tagish Lake chondrite shows some similarities to the two most primitive carbonaceous chondrite types, the CI (as Ivuna, Orgueil) and CM chondrites, as Mighei.

They are all carbonaceous meteorites. For me, if the main minerals are silicates and oxides (various spinels such as magnetite, chromite, spinel) and abundant very simple organic molecules, amino acids are already big organic bricks (of asteroid origin, I think).
There are other families, polycondensed aromatic compounds, fullerenes, graphenes and other allotropes of carbon.
The Fe – Mg carbonates have of course an abiotic origin and they can predate the birth of the sun like the CAI's.
In the other chondrites, carbonates are destroyed by temperature and low pressure.
What do you think of my reasoning?
Thank you.
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