We have never seen anything like it before. The mineral was discovered, embedded in a diamond extracted from a volcanic site in South Africa, Live Science reported on monday.
According to Sputnik, the mineral, which scientists have nicknamed “goldschmidtite” after the famous geochemist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, was formed about 170 kilometres underground, at the depth of the earth’s mantle, between the crust and the outer core. Dark green and opaque in colour, the mysterious mineral has particular chemical components, scientists say.
“Goldschmidtite contains high concentrations of niobium, potassium and lanthanum and cerium, a rare earth element, while the rest of the mantle is dominated by other elements, such as magnesium and iron,” said Nicole Meyer, a PhD student at Alberta University in Canada and co-author of a study, reported by Sputnik. According to Meyer, potassium and niobium constitute the majority of the mineral, which means that the relatively rare elements have somehow been collected and concentrated to form the substance, although there are many other elements around it.