Carbon Mineral Challenge Update: Eight New Minerals Found Since Launch

During the first 12 months of DCO's Carbon Mineral Challenge, 40 scientists and collectors from 6 countries found 8 new minerals approved by the International Mineralogical Association.

In December 2015, the Deep Carbon Observatory launched the Carbon Mineral Challenge to encourage mineral collectors the world over to look for new carbon minerals. The Challenge was inspired by work led by DCO Executive Director Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), which predicted at least 145 carbon-bearing minerals remained undiscovered on Earth.

Science News Cover
Science News featured the Carbon Mineral Challenge on the cover of their 16 October issue. Click to read the article

Hazen and his colleagues used a type of analysis called Large Number of Rare Events (LNRE) modeling to formulate this prediction, the results of which were published in American Mineralogist earlier this year.

Since the launch, DCO’s Daniel Hummer (Southern Illinois University, USA) has taken the lead on the Carbon Mineral Challenge. During the first 12 months, 40 scientists and collectors from 6 countries found 8 new minerals that have been approved by the International Mineralogical Association. The new minerals include two of the 145 minerals specifically predicted by Hazen et al (2016), but others have unexpected chemical and structural characteristics.

“We’re really excited about what we’re finding,” said Hummer. “It’s great to validate our statistical methods with these finds, but it’s also fascinating to see what nature is capable of. These new forms of carbon will definitely change how we make further predictions.”

For more information about the Carbon Mineral Challenge, visit mineralchallenge.net

Meet the new minerals

Abellaite

Abellaite

 

Date December 2015
Location Eureka mine, Catalonia, Spain
Chemistry NaPb2(CO3)2(OH)
Structure Trigonal: P31c; structure determined
References MINDAT.
Discovery Team
Jordi Ibáñez-Insa*, Josep J. Elvira, Núria Oriols, Xavier Llovet, Joan Viñals

Notes Named in honor of Catalan gemologist Joan Abella i Creus (born 13 December 1968, Sabadell, Catalonia, Spain) who found the mineral. Hazen et al (2016) predicted abellaite.

 

cmc-predicted-carbon-mineral

Tinnunculite

Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus). Credit
Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus). Credit Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de

 

Date December 2015
Location Mt. Rasvumchorr, Kola peninsula,
Russia
Chemistry C5H4N4O3·2H2O
Structure Monoclinic:P21/c
References MINDAT.
Discovery Team
Igor V. Pekov*, Nikita V. Chukanov, Dmitry I. Belakovskiy, Inna S. Lykova, Vasiliy O. Yapaskurt, Natalia V. Zubkova, Elena P. Shcherbakova, and Sergey N. Britvin

Notes Named after the European Falcon (Falco tinnunculus) since the mineral formed as a product of hot gases from burning carbon reacting with excrement from Falco tinnunculus.

Marklite

Marklite
Marklite, credit Mindat.org

 

Date January 2016
Location Friedrich-Christian mine, Baden-Würtenberg, Germany
Chemistry Cu5(CO3)2(OH)6·6H2O
Structure New structure type Monoclinic: P21/c; structure determined
References MINDAT.
Discovery Team
Jakub Plášil*, Anthony R. Kampf, Melanie Keuper. Radek Škoda

Notes Named after Prof. Dr. Gregor Markl, mineralogist at the University of Tübingen, Germany, who found the type specimen of marklite, and for his numerous studies and books on crustal petrology, and geochemistry, specifically focused on the hydrothermal ore deposits of the Black Forest area.

Middlebackite

middlebackite
Groups of middlebackite crystals associated with atacamite on quartz. The field of view is 1.1 mm across. Credit Peter Elliott.

 

Date April 2016
Location Iron Monarch quarry, South Australia, Australia
Chemistry Cu2C2O4(OH)2
Structure New structure type, Monoclinic: P21/c; structure determined
References MINDAT.
Discovery Team
Peter Elliott

Notes Named for the Middleback Mountain Range in South Australia, where the mineral was found in a large boulder found by the quarry manager, who was not identified by name in the discovery report. 

Leószilárdite

Leószilárdite. Photographer Travis Olds.
Leószilárdite. Credit Travis Olds.

 

Date June 2016
Location Markey Mine, Utah, USA
Chemistry Na6Mg(UO2)2(CO3)6·6H2O
Structure New structure type, Monoclinic: C2/m; structure determined
References MINDAT.
Discovery Team
Travis A. Olds, Luke Sadergaski, Jakub Plášil, Anthony R.Kampf, Peter C. Burns, Ian M.Steele, and Joe Marty

Notes Named in honor of Leó Szilárd, Hungarian-born physicist and inventor (1898–1964). The team ended up with only a single specimen with diffraction worthy crystals from their collecting expedition, since the bulk of the mineral occurs as pearlescent masses in very thin plates.

Ewingite

Ewingite. Photographer Travis Olds.
Ewingite. Credit Travis Olds.

 

Date June 2016
Location Plavno Mine, Jáchymov ore district, Western Bohemia,Czech Republic
Chemistry Mg8Ca8(UO2)24(CO3)30O4(OH)12(H2O)138
Structure New structure type, Tetragonal: I41/acd; structure determined
References MINDAT.
Discovery Team
Travis A. Olds, Jakub Plášil, Anthony R. Kampf, Peter C. Burns, Antonio Simonetti, and Luke R.Sadergaski

Notes Ewingite is named in honor of Dr. Rodney C. Ewing, professor of Geological Sciences, Frank Stanton Professor in Nuclear Security, and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Ewingite is currently the most structurally complex mineral known.

Braunerite

 

Date June 2016
Location Svornost Mine, Jáchymov ore district, Western Bohemia,Czech Republic
Chemistry K2Ca(UO2)(CO3)3·6H2O
Structure New structure type, Monoclinic: P21/c; structure determined
References MINDAT.
Discovery Team
Jakub Plášil*, Kurt Mereiter, Anthony R. Kampf, Jan Hloušek, Radek Škoda, Jiří Čejka, Ivan Němec, and Jana Ederová

Parisite-(La)

Parisite-(La). RRUFF Database.
Parisite-(La). RRUFF Database.

 

Date August 2016
Location Mula mine, Tapera village, Novo Horizonte,
Bahia, Brazil
Chemistry CaLa2(CO3)3F2
Structure New structure type, Monoclinic: P21/c; structure determined
References MINDAT.
Discovery Team
Daniel Atencio*, Luiz A.D, Menezes Filho, Mario L.S.C. Chaves, Nikita V. Chukanov, Ricardo Scholz, Igor Pekov, Geraldo Magela da Costa, Shaunna M. Morrison, Marcelo Andrade, Erico Freitas, Robert T. Downs, and Dmitriy I. Belakovskiy

Notes Hazen et al. (2016) predicted parisite-[La].

cmc-predicted-carbon-mineral

Further Reading

One of Two New Carbon Minerals is First of Its Kind
DCO Research One of Two New Carbon Minerals is First of Its Kind

Three years and 15 new minerals later, the Carbon Mineral Challenge continues to produce surprises.

DCO Highlights Marchettiite joins the New Carbon Mineral Roster as #13

Marchettiite is the latest in a series of new organic carbon minerals approved by the Commission on…

DCO Press Release Big Data Points Humanity to New Minerals, New Deposits

The private lives of minerals: Understanding how and where minerals hook up helps predict location…

DCO Press Release First-Ever Catalog of 208 Human-Caused Minerals Bolsters Argument to Declare ‘Anthropocene Epoch’

Humans: the greatest contributor to diversity of minerals since oxygen

Back to top