Researchers Suggest New Way of Classifying Minerals

University of Colorado Boulder and Carnegie Institution for Science researchers are suggesting that a new system of classifying minerals be implemented. The evolutionary system will not only be inclusive of historical data but also display changes in distribution and diversity of minerals for more than 4 billion years of the history of earth.

The main inspiration behind the proposal by the researchers is diamonds. This is because, even though most diamonds differ both in genesis and composition, they are all classified as diamonds. This categorization is done by the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification.

This signifies that the diamonds’ historical background is abandoned. This makes it rather hard for paleontologists, geobiologists, planetary scientists and the like, who have to uniformly treat diamonds that were forged thousands of years ago on earth and rocks that were forged in space billions of years ago. The diamonds were created when a huge meteorite hit sediment found on earth that was rich in carbon.

One of the scientists who took part in the study, Robert Hazen, stated that the researchers involved in the study, who came from various fields of planetary science and philosophy, worked together on this project to find out whether there was a meticulous way to include the time dimension in discussions about hard materials that make up the earth.

Hazen added that the International Mineralogical Association system for classifying minerals dated back to the 19th century when geologist James Dwight Dana designed a way to classify minerals based on major elements’ geometrically idealized crystal structure and unique combinations of idealized compositions. However, the system has flaws, seeing as it, for instance, defined quartz as pure silicon dioxide when in reality, every quartz specimen has traces of its process of formation that make it unique.

The lead author of the study, CU Boulder philosophy of science professor Carol Cleland, said that the difference in the formative history of a quartz crystal and a diamond is important. The professor explained that the conditions under which gems were forged and the modifications they underwent were more informative than whether a gem would be classified as quartz or a diamond.

While this may seem simple off the bat, it is not. This is because in mineral evolution, there does not exist a universal theory. This may make it more challenging to develop a system of classification for geosciences.

This is why the researchers proposed an alternative approach that would be based on information-rich biological, physical and chemical characteristics of solid materials while also being historically revelatory. This research was published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Meanwhile, things are looking up for many mining firms. For example, Josemaria Resources Inc. (TSX: JOSE) (OTCQB: JOSMF) recently completed a feasibility study on its copper and gold mining project in Argentina, with results indicating that the project could potentially pay back within less than four years.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Josemaria Resources Inc. (TSX: JOSE) (OTC: JOSMF) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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