Thursday, January 1, 2009

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By: by Bachelors Degree Online

Thanks & Happy New Year!

Oscar G. Shelly

Extinct minerals: Brazilianite...due to mineralogists? or Ice....due to global warming?


I read something today (1/1/2009), - Happy New Year by the way - that caught my eye, and it was related to minerals extinction. The article / blog made me wonder if in fact minerals are subject to extinction due to Geological causes, according to Andrew's Geology blog. After serious, and some not so serious thinking, I came up to the following conclusions / examples that I put into consideration for comments / critics.

I believe that is true that some minerals are subject to extinction, due to a variety of causes / phenomena. The first one that comes to mind is the mineral ice. If after all, Al Gore is right with his Global Warming theory, this will be the cause for melting icebergs, glaciers, and the poles in general, which will make ice disappear from the Earth, or better yet: follow one of Newton's laws; thus, ice will be transformed into water and/or vapor. What about snow?

Now, another one that comes to mind is the Brazilianite. A beautiful mineral with a beautiful name too in honor of its country in which it was discovered Brazil. Why does this mineral being so much harder, and stable than ice would disappear from the Earth? well, the disappearance will not be from the Earth, but from the pegmatites of Brazil (at least the ones so far discovered and exploited); Brazilianite specimens have been placed into many Museus and mineralogical collections around the globe, including mine. This is a mineral you don't see anymore in trade shows, so as far as I am concerned, there is another cause for mineral extinction: Avid mineralogists.

Let me take advantage of discussing about this amazing mineral sadly extinct to talk about its mineralogical features as follows:

Chemical Formula: NaAl3(PO4)2(OH)4
Composition: Molecular Weight = 361.91 gm
Sodium 6.35 % Na 8.56 % Na2O
Aluminum 22.37 % Al 42.26 % Al2O3
Phosphorus 17.12 % P 39.22 % P2O5
Hydrogen 1.11 % H 9.96 % H2O
Oxygen 53.05 % O

Name Origin: Named after its first discovery in Brazil.
Crystal System: Monoclinic - PrismaticH-M Symbol (2/m) Space Group: P 21/n
Cleavage: [010] Good
Color: Colorless, Greenish yellow, Yellow green, Light yellow.
Density: 2.98
Diaphaniety: Transparent
Fracture: Conchoidal - Fractures developed in brittle materials characterized by smoothly curving surfaces, (e.g. quartz).
Habit: Euhedral Crystals - Occurs as well-formed crystals showing good external form.
Habit: Spherical - Spherical, rounded aggregates.
Hardness: 5.5 - Knife Blade
Luster: Vitreous (Glassy)
Streak: White
Radioactivity: Brazilianite is not Radioactive