Monday , November 29 2021

The mineral found in a Russian volcano is something that has never been seen before.


Although we often consider the volcano to be a source of destruction, this phenomenon of fire also leads to creation. In a new study, Russian researchers have come across such a creation, a mysterious mineral never seen before. It is a very attractive and intense material, a bluish green crystallized material. The research team has named it petrovita.

Discovery of a new mineral

The group discovered a mysterious new mineral on the volcano Tolbachik on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The eruption history of this volcano is thousands of years old, but it has been remarkable in both events. One of these events was the ‘great eruption of the Tolbachik rift’ between 1975-1976 and the other smaller one between 2012-13.

Petrovita individual grain. (Filatov et al., Journal of Mineralogical, 2020)

The eruption in the first event was so severe that some ash cones formed in the volcanic region. The landscape became rocky and fumarole has been a rich source of deposits and unprecedented minerals. The Tolbachik volcanic region is known for the 130 mineral types recently discovered here, including petrovite. Petrovite is a sulfated mineral that contains gases that look like a globular aggregate of crystals in the table.

The newly discovered mineral was discovered in 2000 around the second ash cone created by the eruption in 1975 and was stored for later study. Although quite a few years have passed, a new analysis has found that this particular mineral has a strange molecular structure never seen before. The Petrovite Cu atom is bonded to 7 oxygen atoms, which is very uncommon. Researcher and crystallographer Stanislav Filatov of the University of St. Petersburg explains that “this type of bond is also seen in a few compounds and saranthinite.

Unusual Crystal Structure

Saranchinaite is also another mineral found in Tolbachik a few years ago and also has its own unique color. In the case of petrovita, crystallization is thought to be direct precipitation of volcanic gases. Blue microscopic crystalline crusts are formed around a delicate pyroclastic substance. Chemically, the crystalline structure of petrovita is unique, although it resembles sarantxinite, which is believed to be formed from it.

A crystal structure that shows sodium migration pathways. (Filatov et al., Journal of Mineralogical, 2020)

Petrovita’s molecular network consists of oxygen atoms, sodium sulfur, and copper. This network of atoms contains pores that show interconnected lanes for the free movement of sodium ions. Because of this behavior, and by repeating the network in a laboratory, the team believes it can create essential applications in material science. In particular, it allows us to develop new methods for making batteries and cathodes for electrical equipment.

According to Filatov, “right now the main problem with this application is the amount of a transition element in the crystal lattice of the mineral, copper. This problem can be solved by developing a compound with the same petrovita structure in the laboratory. “The results of this study are published in Mineralogical Journal.

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