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New mineral found in Yakutia

  • Published in InFocus
A new mineral, discovered by geologists from St. Petersburg State University in the Verkhoyansk district of Yakutia, was named after the village of Batagai - Batagaite.

According to its hardness it resembles marble, and contains phosphorus, silicon, zinc, copper, manganese, and a variety of other metals. This mineral from the group of phosphates has no analogues either in nature or in laboratories, IA YakutiaMedia reports with reference to RIA Novosti.

"It's too early to talk about the practical value of batagaite, since the properties of new minerals are usually discovered after some time from finding it. However, other such copper minerals have interesting magnetic properties. Unfortunately, a small amount of mineral does not yet allow us to conduct a full study, so perhaps we will try to synthesize batagaitу in the laboratory to better study it," says Sergei Krivovichev, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Professor of St. Petersburg State University.

According to the press service of the university, the scientists found it near the mountain Kester, where in 1930s there was a tin mine where prisoners of the GULAG worked. After the elimination of the system of labor camps, the works were completely stopped, and scientists began to study the vicinity of the mine. Geologists recall that first batagaite samples were found in the late 1980s, however, the scientists did not know then what a unique discovery they were keeping in their arms.

"Batagaite is a very complex mineral for research, and it was impossible to study it by methods that were in the 1980s. Only thanks to the modern equipment of the Science Park, one of the participants of the study, Taras Panikorovsky, was able to decipher its complex structure," Krivovichev continues.

It turned out that the substance has no analogs either among minerals or among inorganic substances, but also has an interesting crystalline structure consisting of two different modules.

Batagaite is almost colorless - it has a barely noticeable light blue hue, and its thin plates formed on the surface of native copper, are fairly fragile and can be easily broken off.

As scientists admit, working with such material was not easy, but on the basis of research they managed to develop a new method for assessing the complexity of the structure of minerals, a description of which will be published in Zeitschrift für Kristallographie journal in the near future.