According to researchers at the University of Adelaide, putnisite is a new mineral that occurs as tiny crystals just 0.5mm in diameter and is found in volcanic rock. It looks like spots of dark pink on dark green and white rock, however, when analysed under microscope its crystal form is actually cube-like.
The crystals can range from pale pink to dark purple with a pink streak and are translucent and brittle.
Samples were sent to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and then to Dr Peter Elliott, a research associate with the South Australian Museum and research fellow at the University of Adelaide, where it was confirmed that the mineral is indeed unique.
Dr Elliott was quoted as saying, "What defines a mineral is its chemistry and crystallography. 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. Nature seems to be far cleverer at dreaming up new chemicals than any researcher in a laboratory."
Could we see putnisite mines cropping up in the future? What impact might this have on the heavy plant equipment industry? Researchers are not sure if the mineral has any practical uses. Time will surely tell if this unique mineral can be transformed into something for wide scale use or application.
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