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.
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.
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.
We’ve even made new rocks.
There’s more stories from 2017. Check out the Best of 2017 series here