Geologists discover new thallium mineral: NATALIYAMALIKITE!
The new mineral was discovered in the Kamchatka Peninsula — one of the long-lived volcanically active areas on Earth, with activity dating back to the Late Triassic epoch.
It occurs as pseudo-cubic nanocrystals at Kamchatka’s Avacha volcano, in association with active high temperature (up to 1,148-1,184 degrees Fahrenheit, or 620-640 degrees Celsius) fumarolic vents.
“It contains thallium, a rare heavy metal most famous for its qualities as a poison,” said Prof. Brugger, lead author of a paper published in the journal American Mineralogist.
Fluoride is a form of thallium (I) and is very poisonous and calcifies the pineal gland in our brain, yet it is misrepresented as a healthy additive to toothpaste and public water supply.
“The discovery of this new mineral means we will be able to better understand how metals are extracted from deep-seated sources within our planet, and concentrated at shallow levels to form economic ore deposits,” said Professor Joel Brugger, leader of the international research team.
Nataliyamalikite is the orthorhombic form of thallium iodide (TlI),
Nataliyamalikite is named after geo-ecologist, Dr. Natalja Malik, from the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kamchatka Peninsula.
“Our colleague was the first to see the mineral under the electron microscope,” Prof. Brugger said.
“However, Monash University was key to making the naming of the new mineral possible: we combined state-of-the-art sample preparation at our Monash Centre for Electronic Microscopy facility, along with the unique capabilities of the Australian Synchrotron, to obtain the crystal structure of the mineral.”
“And in the case of nataliyamalikite this was incredibly difficult as the grains are tiny and almost invisible.”
V. Okrugin et al. 2017. Smoking gun for thallium geochemistry in volcanic arcs: nataljamalikite, TlI, a new thallium mineral from an active fumarole at Avacha Volcano, Kamchatka Peninsula. American Mineralogist: 102; doi: 10.2138/am-2017-6057