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Mineral Resource of the Month: Lithium

Lithium, the lightest of all metallic elements, has unique properties that have led to its use in a diverse array of applications. For many years, most lithium was used in the production of ceramics, glass and aluminum. More recently, the market for lithium has shifted toward batteries for consumer electronics and electric vehicles.

 
13 Sep 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Kyanite

Kyanite and the related minerals andalusite and sillimanite are anhydrous aluminum silicate polymorphs with the same chemical formula, but with different crystal structures and physical properties. These minerals form during metamorphism of clay-bearing sedimentary rocks or in pegmatites. In the United States, where kyanite is prevalent, these three minerals comprise the kyanite minerals group. It is also known as the “sillimanite group” where sillimanite is more common, particularly in India. The three minerals form under slightly different conditions and rarely occur together. They are composed of about 63 percent alumina and 37 percent silica. When “calcined,” or heated to 1,250 to 1,500 degrees Celsius, they convert to about 88 percent mullite and 12 percent silica (the percentages depend on grain size, impurities present and rate of temperature increase). 

 
13 Aug 2013

Down to Earth With: Neil Armstrong: First astrogeologist on the moon

One year ago this month, Neil Armstrong died in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 82. Armstrong will be forever remembered for that historic first step he took on the moon on July 20, 1969, but he also held another distinction: He was the first person to explore the geology of another planetary body.

President John F. Kennedy mandated in his famous 1961 speech at Rice Stadium in Texas that the primary goal of the Apollo program was to land humans on the moon and return them safely to Earth before the end of the decade. The science mission was an important, but secondary, goal.

04 Aug 2013

Benchmarks: August 3, 1769: The La Brea Tar Pits are described

Long before Los Angeles’ infamous traffic packed the pavement of Wilshire Boulevard, the area teemed with hundreds of species of Ice Age animals that became trapped in an asphalt quagmire of a different sort: the La Brea tar pits.

03 Aug 2013

July 28, 1996: Kennewick man is discovered

On the evening of July 28, 1996, archaeologist James Chatters received an unexpected call at his home in Richland, Wash., from the local coroner. Two spectators at the local hydroplane races had found a skull in Columbia Park on the banks of the Columbia River near Kennewick, Wash. The coroner wanted Chatters, a paleontologist and forensic anthropologist affiliated with Central Washington University who often consulted for Benton County, to look at the skull and determine if it belonged to a recent murder victim. When the coroner arrived with the skull in a 5-gallon bucket, Chatters had scant notion that the discovery would end up challenging the reigning theory of the origins of the first Americans and would embroil scientists in a protracted, precedent-setting legal battle against the federal government.

27 Jul 2013

Energy Notes: April 2012-2013

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
19 Jul 2013

Energy Notes: March 2012-2013

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
19 Jul 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Bismuth

Bismuth is a brittle, silvery-white metal with a low melting point and a high density approaching that of lead. Alloys of the metal with lead and tin are known to have been used since the Middle Ages. The metal was referred to as wismuth, and at the end of the 16th century, Georgus Agricola, an early mineralogist, Latinized the Germanic name to bisemutum. 

 
13 Jul 2013

Energy Notes: February 2012-2013

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
19 Jun 2013

Down to Earth With: James White

]James White contends that he has one claim to fame: He grew up just 50 kilometers from Dolly Parton in eastern Tennessee. His father worked as a chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, an enclave of science west of Knoxville. Now a chemist himself, White actually has more claims to fame than he is willing to admit. He has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications; he is the director of the University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR); and he has been named an Institute for Scientific Information highly cited scientist — an honor bestowed on less than 0.5 percent of all publishing researchers.

17 Jun 2013

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