A Strange New Mineral Has Been Discovered in Australia

Illustration for article titled A Strange New Mineral Has Been Discovered in Australia

It's purple, translucent and goes by "putnisite." Discovered in Western Australia, putnisite contains the unusual elemental combination of strontium, calcium, chromium, sulphur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen and is notable for its dissimilarity from other, known families of minerals.


Photo Credit: P. Elliott et al via PopSci

PopSci's Douglas Main has the details:

While dozens of new minerals are discovered each year, it is rare to find one that is unrelated to already-known substances. "Most minerals belong to a family or small group of related minerals, or if they aren't related to other minerals they often are to a synthetic compound—but putnisite is completely unique and unrelated to anything," said Peter Elliott, co-author of a study describing the new substance and a researcher at the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide, in a statement. "Nature seems to be far cleverer at dreaming up new chemicals than any researcher in a laboratory."


[Mineralogical Magazine via PopSci]

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They find a new mineral and they could name it however they wanted, from Unobtainium to Adamantium to Mithril, end they end up calling it "putnisite". Man this was a wasted opportunity to make science even more awesome in the eyes of geeks and nerds.