Kernowite is a new mineral that has been found only in an old specimen collected at a single location in Cornwall, UK.
Source: Sci News
The only known specimen of kernowite, named after Kernow which is the Cornish word for Cornwall, was collected in the 1700s.
It became part of the Natural History Museum, London’s geological collections in 1964.
“Considering how many geologists, prospectors and collectors have scoured the county over the centuries in search of mineral treasure it’s amazing that in 2020 we are adding a new mineral,” said Mike Rumsey, principal curator of minerals at the Natural History Museum, London.
Kernowite is what is known as a secondary mineral due to the way it has been formed.
It is formed when other rocks, close to the surface of the Earth have had their chemical elements mobilized by circulating water.
The elements now present within the fluid re-combine to create a new mineral from different elements of previously crystalized rock.
It is not always possible to date the formation of a secondary mineral and many likely have a short ‘life’ due to being subject to erosion.
“To show we have a new species, we must carry out analyses which determine the chemical composition of the material, the positions of these atoms within 3D crystal structure,” Rumsey said.
“Broadly speaking, if either or both of these features are unique the mineral is new.”
“One part of its internal structure was dominated by iron instead of aluminum, so we found it worthy of a new name, kernowite.”
“Although kernowite has no obvious direct application, all newly found minerals build upon our understanding of materials generally,” he added.
The description of kernowite will be published in the Mineralogical Magazine in 2021.
Source: Sci News