There are around 5,000 minerals in the world, of which 208 are unique: they’re the direct result of human’s activities on earth.  Without humans, geologist have determined, they wouldn’t even exist.

/READ MORE // The Era of Man

To count as a mineral, the compound in questions must be naturally occurring, chemically distinct and inorganic.  Any Man-Made or Human-caused minerals stretch the definition a bit – technically, any could have occurred naturally, humans just happened to give them a head start.

Metamunirite was found in a mine in Colorado

Most minerals in the newly acquired list come from mine shafts or slag heaps – places where byproducts of heavy industry tend to merge in unforeseen ways.  In other cases, some were found in a shipwreck, and even a museum cabinet.

Nealite was found in an ancient Greek slag site

The new list, published in March in American Mineralogist, adds more evidence that we are indeed in a new era, the Anthropocene or the “age of Humans”.  New minerals are appearing at a much faster rate than ever before, and the list’s authors say it’s a testament to how much humans have re-arranged the Earth’s surface.

Chalconatronite was found first in a quarry in Quebec

We’ve even made new rocks.

Abhurite was discovered at the site of an English shipwreck

There’s more stories from 2017.  Check out the Best of 2017 series here

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