Science

A new mineral with amazing properties discovered in Russia

Tolbachik volcano, located at the far east of the Peninsula of Kamtchatka (Russia) is a veritable Ali Baba cave for Russian mineralogists and crystallographers: in recent years they have discovered dozens of new minerals, many of which remain unique in the world. The latest, petrovite, is present in the form of globular cushions of blue crystals including gaseous inclusions. “The copper atom in the crystal structure of petrovite has an unusual and very rare arrangement of seven oxygen atoms. Such an arrangement is only found in a few compounds, such as saranchinaite, which has been discovered. [au même endroit, ndlr] by our colleagues at the University of Saint Petersburg “, said project leader Professor Stanislav Filatov in a statement released by St. Petersburg State University.

Satellite image of the 2012-2013 eruption taken on December 22, 2012 and the two lava flows. ©Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon/ NASA

The Tolbachik volcano experienced two major eruptions in 1975 and 2012. The first, which took place from June 28, 1975 to December 10, 1976, is the largest known basalt eruption in Kamchatka with the flow of 1.2 km3 lava and the explosive ejection of 980,000 km3 of pieces of rocks. On November 27, 2012, two cracks opened in roughly the same place following an earthquake, letting rivers of fluid lava flow. The eruption is accompanied by large plumes of gas and ash which fall in rain for several tens of kilometers around. For more than 40 years, Stanislav Filatov, professor at the University of Saint Petersburg, and researchers from several research institutes in Russia, have been studying the mineralogy of the cinder cones and the lava flows of the fumaroles resulting from these two volcanic episodes. major which produced an unprecedented mineralogical diversity.

Saint seekersPetersburg on the volcano. © Otkrytie Kamen

Petrovite is made up of atoms of oxygen, sodium sulphide and copper, which form a porous structure. These pores are connected to each other by channels that allow small sodium atoms to move around. This property of petrovite which allows ionic conductivity could make it a useful material for constructing sodium-ion batteries. But the small quantities discovered immediately shower this promising prospect. Unless you synthesize a compound with the same structure as petrovite in the laboratory, as proposed by Stanislav Filatov. Petrovite was named in honor of Tomas Petrov, a renowned crystallographer at the University of Saint Petersburg and the inventor of the cultivation of jewelery grade synthetic malachite. This research is published in Mineralogical magazine.

Some examples of minerals

Some examples of minerals discovered in the same place by Russian researchers.

Bradaczekite

Credits: University of St. Petersburg

Achyrophanite

Credits: University of St. Petersburg

Avdoninite

Credits: University of St. Petersburg

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