The world’s collectors come to Tucson each February, seeking to add a gem, fossil or rock to their collections.
Some geologists, meanwhile, are collecting rockhounds — enlisting those collectors in a challenge to complete the mathematical map of carbon-bearing minerals.
The theoretical map of undiscovered minerals is based on work done at the UA, led by Robert Downs, to compile an open-access database of minerals.
Downs used a statistics-based computer model to predict the missing minerals.
There are 406 known carbon minerals, and an average of four have been discovered each year in the past five years.