These 208 Minerals Exist Solely Due to Humans
According to the new study, the catalog of 208 minerals that exist solely due to human activity represent a clear dividing point in Earth’s history — before human activity and after. This impact is expected to last “far into the future,” the study authors wrote. And due to the rapid pace of the new minerals’ formation and the likelihood of many more continuing to emerge, their appearance is described by the scientists as equal in significance to — if not greater than — the so-called Great Oxidation event billions of years ago, when the influx of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere spurred the development of about two-thirds of all known minerals. “Simply put, we live in an era of unparalleled inorganic compound diversification,” study co-author Robert Hazen, a research scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory and a professor of Earth Science at George Mason University in Virginia, said in a statement. “Indeed, if the Great Oxidation eons ago was a ‘punctuation event’ in Earth’s history, the rapid and extensive geological impact of the Anthropocene is an exclamation mark,” Hazen added. The findings were published online March 1 in the journal American Mineralogist. Original article on Live Science.