Geologists solve puzzle that could predict valuable rare earth element deposits

Geologists solve puzzle that could predict valuable rare earth element deposits
Pioneering new research has helped geologists solve a long-standing puzzle that could help pinpoint new, untapped concentrations of some the most valuable rare earth deposits. Credit: Michael Anenburg, ANU.

Pioneering new research has helped geologists solve a long-standing puzzle that could help pinpoint new, untapped concentrations of some the most valuable rare earth deposits.


A team of geologists, led by Professor Frances Wall from the Camborne School of Mines, have discovered a new hypothesis to predict where rare earth elements neodymium and dysprosium could be found.

The elements are among the most sought after, because they are an essential part of digital and clean energy manufacturing, including magnets in large wind turbines and electric cars motors.

For the new research, scientists conducted a series of experiments that showed sodium and potassium—rather than chlorine or fluorine as previously thought—were the key ingredients for making these rare earth elements soluble.

This is

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Geologists solve puzzle that could predict valuable rare earth element deposits — ScienceDaily

Pioneering new research has helped geologists solve a long-standing puzzle that could help pinpoint new, untapped concentrations of some the most valuable rare earth deposits.

A team of geologists, led by Professor Frances Wall from the Camborne School of Mines, have discovered a new hypothesis to predict where rare earth elements neodymium and dysprosium could be found.

The elements are among the most sought after, because they are an essential part of digital and clean energy manufacturing, including magnets in large wind turbines and electric cars motors.

For the new research, scientists conducted a series of experiments that showed sodium and potassium — rather than chlorine or fluorine as previously thought — were the key ingredients for making these rare earth elements soluble.

This is crucial as it determines whether they crystalise — making them fit for extraction — or stayed dissolved in fluids.

The experiments could therefore allow geologists

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Stop Looking For An ‘Earth 2.0,’ Say Scientists As They Detect An Even Better ‘Superhabitable’ World

Our planet is the best there is, right? Not necessarily, say researchers at Washington State University who have produced a list of 24 planets outside our Solar System that are not only Earth-like, but may even be better than Earth. 

The list—which is intended to be a “to do” list for a bunch of powerful telescopes due to go live in the next few years—includes planets that are older, a little larger, slightly warmer and possibly wetter than Earth, and which orbit stars with longer lifespans than our Sun. 

The researchers—whose work is published this week in the journal Astrobiology—think the worlds in the list contain some that could be called “super-habitable.” That means they could be places where life could more easily thrive than

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Rare Earth Metals Get The Presidential Treatment

Last Wednesday, the president signed an executive order addressing the threat posed by the United States’ overreliance on “critical minerals” from “foreign adversaries.”

To be more specific, “critical minerals” here means “rare earth metals,” and “foreign adversaries” means “China.”

Although not as rare as gold, the group of 17 metals are used in the manufacture of advanced technologies, including electric vehicles, wind turbines and missile guidance systems. Your iPhone contains a number of them. Each F-35 fighter jet has about half a ton of these strategic elements.

The problem is that the U.S. no longer produces barite (used in fracking), gallium (semiconductors, 5G telecommunications), graphite (smartphone batteries) and a number of other materials. “For 31 of the 35 critical minerals, the United States imports more than half of its annual consumption,” according to the press release.

Today, China controls some 80 percent to 95 percent of the world market,

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Earth grows large crystals, rare elements in just minutes

Oct. 7 (UPI) — Scientists have gained new insights into crystal growth rates inside pegmatites, veinlike formations that host some of the planet’s biggest crystals, as well as valuable elements such as tantalum, niobium and lithium.

Magma cooling time typically controls the size of crystals — when magma cools quickly, crystals remain microscopic, and when it cools slowly, crystals have time to grow.

But pegmatite crystals appear to upend this logic, researchers said in a study published this week in the journal Nature Communications.

“Pegmatites cool relatively quickly, sometimes in just a few years, and yet they feature some of the largest crystals on Earth,” Cin-Ty Lee, professor of geology at Rice University, said in a news release. “The big question is really, ‘How can that be?'”

To determine the growth rates of pegmatite crystals, scientists turned to the rare elements that are often found inside pegmatites.

“It was more

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New Asteroid With Non-Zero Earth Impact Probability Added To ESA Risk List

KEY POINTS

  • The ESA has included a new asteroid (2020 OB) in its Risk List
  • 2020 OB has a non-zero impact probability with Earth and is set to make its next close approach on 2051
  • A new “minimoon” has entered Earth’s orbit and will stay until April 2021

The European Space Agency has included a new asteroid to its Risk List, a catalogue of space objects with a non-zero impact probability with Earth has been detected.

The object, known as 2020 OB, was discovered back in July and scored only a moderate value in the Palermo scale — a scale that enables Near-Earth Object specialists to categorize and prioritize potential impact risks on Earth. However, the addition of more thorough observations made in September has resulted to 2020 OB increasing its risk rating, now taking the fourth spot on ESA’s Risk List. 

According to ESA’s data, the predicted impact date

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Could megatesla magnetic fields be realized on Earth? — ScienceDaily

Magnetic fields are used in various areas of modern physics and engineering, with practical applications ranging from doorbells to maglev trains. Since Nikola Tesla’s discoveries in the 19th century, researchers have strived to realize strong magnetic fields in laboratories for fundamental studies and diverse applications, but the magnetic strength of familiar examples are relatively weak. Geomagnetism is 0.3-0.5 gauss (G) and magnetic tomography (MRI) used in hospitals is about 1 tesla (T = 104 G). By contrast, future magnetic fusion and maglev trains will require magnetic fields on the kilotesla (kT = 107 G) order. To date, the highest magnetic fields experimentally observed are on the kT order.

Recently, scientists at Osaka University discovered a novel mechanism called a “microtube implosion,” and demonstrated the generation of megatesla (MT = 1010G) order magnetic fields via particle simulations using a supercomputer. Astonishingly, this is three orders of magnitude

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Mars set for close approach to Earth Tuesday, and you can see the show

nasamars

Mars will bright and beautiful in the October 2020 night sky.


NASA

Forget Halloween. This October is all about the glory of Mars, as the glimmering red planet puts on a show in the night sky. You can enjoy Mars as a bright point of light all month long, but there are two special dates to mark on your calendar: Oct. 6 when the planet makes a close approach to Earth, and Oct. 13, when it will be in opposition. 

Spotting Mars

Mars has a reputation as the “red” planet, but its color in the night sky is a little more on the Halloween side of the spectrum. It appears as a bright orange-red dot to the naked eye, like a little spot of glittering rust.

Mars’ distinctive color is one clue you’ve found

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154-Foot NEO To Zoom Past Earth At 14,000 Kmph

KEY POINTS

  • Asteroid 2020RR2 is set to pass by the Earth on Oct. 6, at 10:55 a.m. EDT
  • The NEO will be as tall as the Chicago Water Tower and half as tall as the Statue of Liberty
  • 2020RR2’s close approach will occur on the same day as Mars’ close approach to Earth

An asteroid about as tall as the Chicago Water Tower will zip past Earth this Tuesday, NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies data reveals. 

Towering at a height of 154 feet, this Near-Earth Object (NEO) will make its approach on Oct. 6, at exactly 10:55 a.m. EDT. Named 2020RR2, it will fly by the planet at about 4.08 kms or 14,000 kmph (8,699 mph). This NEO will be about half as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Along the course of its approach, 2020RR2 can get as close as 6 million kilometers from

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Cooperation Key to Spotting an Asteroid Headed for Earth

If you’ve noticed an uptick in reports of asteroids whizzing close to Earth in the last few years, it might seem as if our planet is more in danger of being struck by a space rock than ever before. But there hasn’t really been an increase in the number of asteroids threatening Earth — it’s that our ability to detect those asteroids has dramatically improved.

Our magnificent Milky Way galaxy is radiant over La Silla Observatory.
Our magnificent Milky Way galaxy is radiant over ESO’s La Silla Observatory. ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org)

Thanks to improvements in technology like increases in computing power and more powerful telescopes, astronomers can now scan the sky in more detail than ever before, and they’re discovering more objects orbiting the sun and coming close to Earth. But this work can’t be done by just one country or one agency. To protect the planet, we need a global network of telescopes and researchers working together.

To find out

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