Scientists discover exotic new mineral forged in the furnace of a Russian volcano

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Volcanoes rank among the most destructive and awe-inspiring phenomena on the planet. But these fiery fissures do much more than just destroy. They also create.In a new study, researchers in Russia report the discovery of one such creation – an unusual mineral never before documented by scientists: an alluring, vibrantly blue-and-green crystallised substance the team have called petrovite.
The mineral was found in the volcanic landscape of Russia’s far east, atop the Tolbachik volcano in the Kamchatka Peninsula. Blue cryptocrystalline crusts of petrovite. (Filatov et al., Mineralogical Magazine, 2020)Tolbachik’s eruptive history traces back thousands of years, but in recent times, two notable events stand out: the ‘Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption’ of 1975–1976, and a second, lesser follow-up that took place between 2012–2013.The force of eruptions during the first event tore numerous cinder cones in the volcanic complex, opening up rocky terrain that’s since been discovered to be a rich vein of fumarole deposits and unknown minerals never seen anywhere else.In total, the Tolbachik volcano lays claim to 130 type locality minerals that were first identified here, the latest of which is petrovite, a sulfate mineral that takes shape as blue globular aggregates of tabular crystals, many holding gaseous inclusions.The specimen …

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