Anthropocene Epoch: Scientists Discover 208 New Human-Caused Minerals

Posted: Mar 2 2017, 8:38am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Anthropocene Epoch: Scientists Discover 208 New Human-Caused Minerals
Simonkolleite [Zn5(OH)8Cl2·H2O] is an anthropogenic mineral, found on a copper mining artifact, Rowley mine, Maricopa County, Arizona. Credit: RRUFF
  • Anthropocene Epoch may have led to a Riot of Novel Minerals

The Anthropocene Epoch or recent human-dominated era in the earth’s geological history may have led to a riot of novel minerals. These were caused by man-made activity.

Man has come to dominate the globe via industrial ingenuity and scientific acumen. This has resulted in the flowering of about 208 minerals that are man-made in nature. Such an event had hardly been contemplated before.

It marks the first time since the genesis of oxygen 2.2 billion years ago that mineral production underwent such a renaissance of sorts.

This further corroborates the decision taken by many scientists to declare the current era on the planet to be a man-centric one. Termed the Anthropocene Epoch, this period on the timeline is still taking place right before our very eyes.

Human activities have spread throughout the globe during this period. Like the past eras when dinosaurs and other life forms dwelled on the earth, this one is marked by Homo sapiens being the major life form that has come to be the top cat among the species.

The paper, published by American Mineralogist, on the matter shows that over 208 new minerals were formed in recent times either directly due to human actions or indirectly and in conjunction with Mother Nature.

This number (208) may seem to be a lot but we must remember that it is only 4% of the grand total minerals found on earth. This latter number amounts to 5200.

The IMA recognizes and ratifies these minerals. Most of these minerals were excavated via mining activity. Ore deposits, slag that had undergone weathering, tunnel walls that held excrescences and mine timbers all held these minerals.

Half a dozen minerals were found on the walls of smelting machines. Another trio of minerals were discovered in geothermal pipelines. There are even a couple of man-made minerals that occurred in natural surroundings.

Lead artefacts that had undergone corrosion on a Tunisian abandoned ship held one such mineral. Another one was found on bronze artefacts on Egyptian soil.

Two more were found on tin artefacts in Canada. A quatrad was also also discovered on sites where sacrificial animals were burnt in Austria. Such diversity of beautiful and colorful minerals has rarely been seen before.

The dawn of oxygen marked the birth of minerals on earth. Minerals have been here for a long time. That is why the new ones that are man-made in nature are so fascinating for scientists and laymen alike.

Among the list of impacts that humanity has had on the earth that has led to novel mineral diversity are: synthetic lab production, shifts in rocks and sedimentary deposits, global seismic transformations and the formation of many new compounds. At least 29 types of carbon are entirely man-made in their nature.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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