Scientists in Australia have discovered a new mineral that occurs as tiny dark pink or dark green crystals on volcanic rocks.
Named Putnisite, after Aussie mineralogists Andrew and Christine Putnis, the mineral is unique both in its composition and structure, making it one-of-a-kind among the 4,000 known minerals across the globe!
The new mineral does not seem to occur in crystals that are larger than 0.5mm in diameter and while they might be of no practical use as of now, scientists believe that their exclusive combination holds endless possibilities.
Appearing like square, cubic structures under a microscope, this volcanic mineral is comprised of strontium, calcium, chromium, sulphur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
After X-ray analysis of the mineral crystals, it was shown that the structure of the mineral did not belong to any known family of either natural or synthetic minerals.
The mineral was discovered while a mining company was prospecting in WA and has since been handed over to Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for further research.
While Putnisite might have a special composition that sets it apart from the existing family of minerals, experts in the field believe that is not the only one and many such minerals still are waiting to be uncovered in volcanic rocks.
Both high pressure and temperature below the earth’s crust could well hide many such minerals which only come to surface when molten magma finds its way out.