The Carbon Mineral Challenge

The Carbon Mineral Challenge sets the stage for both professional and amateur mineral collectors to make their mark by discovering never-before described minerals. Researchers predict at least 135 of Earth’s carbon-bearing minerals remain undiscovered. How many can collectors find by 2019?

Deep Carbon Observatory

Flawed, Precious Stones Carry Clues From Deep in the Mantle

Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere creates extremely oxidizing conditions at the surface. Anyone who has seen rusty metal has observed oxidation in action: the oxygen steals electrons from the metal, creating crusty, red, iron oxide. Within Earth’s core, however, low levels of oxygen create much more reduced conditions. Intuitively, many researchers have supposed that Earth’s layers become […]

Triazolite crystals
Carbon Mineral Challenge Update, October 2017

Intertwined Discovery

New carbon mineral #11 has strong family ties The newly discovered – and exquisitely beautiful – mineral triazolite is intricately linked to another mineral, chanabyaite. And, interestingly, like another recently discovered carbon mineral tinnuculite, triazolite was discovered in a guano deposit.   The path to formal acceptance of triazolite as a mineral began in 2008 […]

Big data points humanity to new minerals, new deposits (Update)

In a paper published by American Mineralogist, scientists report the first application to mineralogy of network theory (best known for analysis of e.g. the spread of disease, terrorist networks, or Facebook connections). The results, they say, pioneer a way to reveal mineral diversity and distribution worldwide, mineral evolution through deep time, new trends, and new […]

Smithsonian Magazine

Big Data (and You) Could Help Find 1,500 Undiscovered Minerals

Mineralogists have long studied how and why minerals occur where they do. Now, they’re applying big data to the question. The researchers are using network theory to understand the complex way different chemical, biological, physical and geographic parameters determine where minerals occur. Network theory – the idea that the relationships between things are governed by […]


Scientists turn to big data in hunt for minerals, oil and gas

OSLO (Reuters) – Scientists searching for everything from oil and gas to copper and gold are adopting techniques used by companies such as Netflix or Amazon to sift through vast amounts of data, a study showed on Tuesday. The method has already helped to discover 10 carbon-bearing minerals and could be widely applied to exploration, […]

Science Daily

Big data points humanity to new minerals, new deposits

Until recently, scientists didn’t have the necessary modelling and visualization tools to capitalize on these giant stockpiles of information. Network analysis offers new insight into minerals, just as complex data sets offer important understanding of social media connections, city traffic patterns, and metabolic pathways, to name a few examples. “Big data is a big thing,” […]


Jáchymov 2016: New Minerals and Mineralogy

This is a video about the Jáchymov 2016: New Minerals and Mineralogy symposium. It features interviews with scientists Jakub Plášil and Travis Olds, who were involved in the discovery of new carbon minerals leószilárdite and ewingite. The video was produced by Klaas Boelen. Mineralogy conference Jachymov 2016 from Klaas Boelen on Vimeo.

Daniel Hummer
Science News for Students

Beyond diamonds: Search is on for rare carbon crystals

Long ago, in Russia’s distant Northwest, a bird pooped. But this was not just any old splat of excrement. The feces landed on a very hot rock. It lay atop an underground coal fire. The intense heat quick-baked the poop. And that caused one of the substances previously dissolved in the feces to crystallize. With […]

The Private Lives of Minerals

The Private Lives of Minerals: Insights from Big-Data Mineralogy

In this video Robert Hazen (Carnegie Institution for Science) discusses mineral evolution, mineral ecology, and mineral network analysis. The presentation touches upon some of the questions and themes that drive the Carbon Mineral Challenge and the quest to discover new mineral species.  

Science Daily

Three new uranium minerals from Utah

Leesite, leószilárdite and redcanyonite are three new uranyl minerals discovered growing on the walls of old uranium mines in southern Utah. An alumnus of Michigan Technological University found them. Olds says leószilárdite is a particularly interesting find because of the Carbon Mineral Challenge. The challenge runs through September 2019, with the goal to discover as […]

Josh and Dan at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Carbon Mineral Challenge at the 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is the largest show of its kind in the world, attracting thousands of mineral collectors, mineralogists, and everyday rock and mineral enthusiasts. For the second year running, DCO’s Carbon Mineral Challenge will take part in the show, encouraging members of the mineral collecting community from all walks of life […]