Superman, beware! 'Kryptonite' discovered on Earth
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Wednesday, April 25, 2007 9:25AM EDT
Superman, beware! Geologists have announced the discovery of a mineral with virtually the same chemical composition as kryptonite -- a substance that the comic superhero must avoid at all costs.
While kryptonite is often depicted in Superman comic books and movies in the form of green crystals that possess the power to render the superhero weak and powerless, the actual mineral is white, powdery and ultimately harmless.
"The new mineral does not contain fluorine and is white rather than green, but in all other respects the chemistry matches that for the rock containing kryptonite," said Dr. Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum.
"We will have to be careful with it -- we wouldn't want to deprive Earth of its most famous superhero!"
Geologists with the world's third-largest mining company, Rio Tinto Plc, found the mineral during an excavation in Serbia.
After they were unable to identify the mineral, they sought Stanley's help.
During his research, Stanley conducted an Internet search for sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide -- the formula of the mysterious mineral. He discovered this same chemical formula was used to identify kryptonite in the movie 'Superman Returns.'
It is unusual to find new minerals in significant quantities, but with the assistance of advanced techniques of Canada's National Research Council, Stanley was able to confirm a new mineral had been discovered.
The new mineral can be used as a source of lithium, which is used in batteries. The mineral could also be used as a source of borate, which is used in cleaning products.
Scientists from the Natural Resources Canada, the Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature are working to ensure the new mineral is recognized by the scientific community.
London's Natural History Museum will display the mineral on April 25 and on May 13.
However, the mineral will not be named kryptonite. Instead, it will be formally named Jadarite when it is described in the European Journal of Mineralogy later this year.