Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Geological Fact - Update on the Most Common Mineral

Previously I had posted on "What is the most common mineral on Earth?", well some recent discoveries have come to light that have made me go back to that original post and update it. When I had originally published the post I had stated that:
"Looking at the bulk composition of the Earth the most common mineral is generally regarded as olivine since the mantle makes up the bulk of the Earth and olivine makes up the bulk of the mantle." 
That statement had produced a couple of comments (not unwarranted) from the scientific community:

Dinogami stated:
That's not the most common mineral on Earth; it's the most common mineral in the Earth...
Semantics aside, I could probably restate the question.

While Hypocentre stated:
Surely it is silicate perovskite as the lower mantle is larger by volume than either the upper mantle or core.
Hypocentre was completely correct in his criticism. Unfortunately, at the time this mineral was not observed in it's natural state so no name was given to it. Recently, however, a chunk of this unknown mineral has been found. Since it has been found, it can then receive a formal name.  Here is my updated geological fact:

Question: What is the Earth's most common mineral? 
Looking at the bulk composition of the Earth, the most common mineral is a silicate mineral with a perovskite structure that dominates the lower mantle. This mineral has recently been named "bridgmanite".

You can check out the rest of my Geology Fun Fact on my website.

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