Scientists Find Mineral Never Before Seen on Earth

Scientists Find Mineral Never Before Seen on Earth

( – Humans have been on Earth long enough that one might be tempted to think we’ve unlocked all its secrets. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As it turns out, the planet still holds plenty of surprises for eager scientists to uncover.

On November 11, a team of nine scientists led by University of Nevada mineralogist Oliver Tschauner published the results of a research study detailing the recent discovery of a deep-earth mineral, never seen before on the earth’s surface. Tschauner named the mineral “davemaoite” after famed Chinese-American geophysicist Ho-Kwang Mao, Ph.D. who’s informally known as “Dave” to colleagues, friends, and family members.

In technical terms, davemaoite is the world’s first finding of calcium silicate perovskite created in the earth’s mantle, roughly 400 to 1700 miles beneath the planet’s surface. Scientists first discussed the crystallized compound’s possible existence in 1975 and have looked for an example ever since.

The University of Nevada issued a press release discussing the relevance of the discovery. Scientists have been unable to find any examples of lower mantle minerals on the earth’s surface because they cannot “retain their structure” outside the high-pressure environment found within the earth’s mantle, according to the release. However, scientists discovered this sample embedded within a diamond, the hardest known material.

The Commission of New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification approved the davemaoite, making the discovery official.

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