How New Minerals Influence Environmental & Materials Sciences
July 25, 12:00 pm
Presented by Travis Olds
Each year, about 100 new minerals are discovered and accepted by the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification of the International Mineralogical Association. Exploration of abandoned mines and reinvestigation of samples from classic localities have allowed mineralogists to discover more new minerals in the past decade than any before. Although crystal-chemical studies of synthetic materials have increased exponentially over the same period, some recent new minerals possess remarkably complex atomic arrangements and compositions that provide us with a more thorough understanding of the crystal-chemical features that dictate mineral properties and their environmental behavior. In fact, Nature is our most skilled experimentalist if you know where to look, and new mineral descriptions further enrich our understanding of the material world, promoting technological advancement and fostering better environmental stewardship. To ensure that mineralogy has a strong future will require diligent preservation of mining materials and history, as well as modernized curation methods and integration of new findings with both public and scientific communities. Looking forward, predictive mineralogy methods and big-data analysis are ever important approaches to understanding human-mineral interactions in our Anthropocene era.
About Travis Olds
Travis Olds, an Upper Peninsula of Michigan native, is a passionate photographer, collector and researcher of minerals. Olds obtained his B.Sc. in chemistry from Michigan Technological University in 2012 and received his Ph.D from the University of Notre Dame in 2017, where he explored the mineralogy and crystal chemistry of uranium. He currently works as a post-doctoral research associate at Washington State University, leading research efforts of the Department of Energy-funded Actinide Ceramic Materials Laboratory. Olds’ research is focused on the structure-property relationships of minerals and materials, using spectroscopic, diffraction and scattering techniques to study them at various length scales. With the help of an international group of friends and colleagues, Olds has discovered or been involved in the description of 18 new minerals recognized by the IMA Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification.