A new mineral with a surprising composition has been discovered in the Polar Bear peninsula of Western Australia by a University of Adelaide mineralogy researcher, which has been described in Mineralogical Magazine.
The pretty mineral, which has been named putnisite, is purple in appearance and is composed of cube-like crystals of 0.5mm in size. It’s translucent with a glassy luster and has a pink streak. What is intriguing about the mineral is its elementary composition; it contains strontium, calcium, chromium, sulfur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, which is unusual. It’s relatively soft and brittle with a Mohs hardness of between 1 ½ - 2. Currently it remains unknown whether the mineral will have any practical applications.
“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,” said lead author of the study Dr Elliott in a press-release. “Nature seems to be far cleverer at dreaming up new chemicals than any researcher in a laboratory,” he added.