A new challenge has been launched to uncover the world’s remaining undiscovered carbon-bearing minerals.
The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) has launched the Carbon Mineral Challenge to find what it believes are around at least 145 carbon minerals yet to be discovered.
Scientists at the Carnegie Institute of Washington and Purdue University Calumet used a type of analysis called Large Number of Rare Events (LNRE) modelling to formulate this prediction.
“The LNRE model also predicts that the majority of the carbon-bearing minerals awaiting discovery are hydrous carbonates, a potentially challenging fact for collectors,” the DCO stated
To date 406 carbon minerals have been identified, with an average rate of about four carbon minerals discovered every year for the past five years.
“Given the scientific value of potential new carbon-bearing mineral discoveries, the Deep Carbon Observatory is challenging both amateur collectors and professional mineralogists around the world to find these rare [remaining] specimens,” the DCO said.
The group has already identified a number of locations globally where these elusive minerals may reside, including Namibia, Canada, Russia, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
“There’s something magical about mineral collecting that’s hard to put into words,” DCO early career scientist Daniel Hummer said.
“You’re collecting fundamental constituents of the natural world that only exist because life has interacted with rocks over millions, or even billions, of years.”
“One of the most exciting prospects,” he added, “is we might even stumble upon minerals we didn’t predict in our analyses. We could be in for a surprise!”
The vent guidelines have been outlined by the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification. Once the commission has approved the new mineral, the team responsible for its discovery and verification should submit their entry to the Carbon Mineral Challenge via mineralchallenge.net.
The Carbon Mineral Challenge will run until September 2019.