See the new mineral forged in a Russian volcano

Tolbachik Volcano on the eastern Kamchatka Peninsula has created never-before-seen minerals
new mineral Samples of the new mineral petrovite. (Filatov et al. Mineralogical Magazine 2020)

Russian scientists have discovered a brand new mineral that they call petrovite.

Brand new? In 2020? What took them so long to find it?

Fair question. How about ... it is only made inside a volcano?

Okay, fair answer!

Kamchatka, comin' at ya!

Embed from Getty Images

A view by helicopter of Tolbachik Volcano. (Getty Embed)

To be exact, this striking blue-green substance (look how pretty it is!) was made inside the Tolbachik Volcano. This hotheaded feature is found on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's far east.

The volcano has been active for a couple of periods over the last fifty years, including in 2012–13. It was during this most recent time that eruptions opened up a series of new fissures, or cracks, in the surface. These cracks are what allowed geologists to explore inside the volcano, finding petrovite for the first time. And that's not all they found.

In fact, petrovite is just the latest of 130 mineral discovered at this magnificent volcano. Nice work, Tolbachik!

Feeling blue

Ready to learn a very cool term? Petrovite is a fumarolic sulfate. This means that is a salt (sulfate) that is formed at an opening in the Earth's crust (a fumarole).

Its cool blue colour comes from the oxidation of, or addition of oxygen to, copper. Along with sodium sulphur, copper and oxygen atoms are a big part of this mineral. And just what can we do with this rare mineral?

Researchers think that it is possible that it could be used in batteries, especially if we can reproduce it in a lab. For now though, let's all just appreciate its icy beauty and marvel at the power of volcanoes. For all of their destructive power, they can create amazing things, too!

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