Skip to comments.'Kryptonite' discovered in Serbia
Posted on 04/24/2007 6:41:06 AM PDT by kronos77
A new mineral whose composition almost exactly matches that of Superman-felling kryptonite has been unearthed in Serbia by mining company Rio Tinto. The mineral was identified by researchers at the Natural History Museum, and Canada's National Research Council.
Mike Rumsey, mineral curator at the Natural History Museum, explains that when the team had worked out the structure of the mineral, sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide, they typed it into Google to see whether anyone had classified it already.
The first link returned by the search engine was to a Wikipedia entry on kryptonite, specifically a label on a box of kryptonite in the movie Superman Returns.
He says it was very exciting because very few new minerals are discovered - between 30 and 40 every year.
However, because the mineral is actually nothing to do with Krypton, it can't be called kryptonite. International nomenclature rules are strict, and the substance will officially be called Jadarite. As well as missing out on its showbiz name, the mineral is not a radioactive green crystal, but a rather ordinary looking white powdery substance.
As for kryptonite's potentially superhero slaying powers, Rumsey is not worried: "It probably won't do superman, or us, any harm whatsoever," he said. ®
More from BBC:
‘Kryptonite’ discovered in mine
Very definitely not green
Kryptonite is no longer just the stuff of fiction feared by caped superheroes.
A new mineral matching its unique chemistry - as described in the film Superman Returns - has been identified in a mine in Serbia.
According to movie and comic-book storylines, kryptonite is supposed to sap Superman’s powers whenever he is exposed to its large green crystals.
The real mineral is white and harmless, says Dr Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London’s Natural History Museum.
“I’m afraid it’s not green and it doesn’t glow either - although it will react to ultraviolet light by fluorescing a pinkish-orange,” he told BBC News.
Researchers from mining group Rio Tinto discovered the unusual mineral and enlisted the help of Dr Stanley when they could not match it with anything known previously to science.
Once the London expert had unravelled the mineral’s chemical make-up, he was shocked to discover this formula was already referenced in literature - albeit fictional literature.
“Towards the end of my research I searched the web using the mineral’s chemical formula - sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide - and was amazed to discover that same scientific name, written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther from a museum in the film Superman Returns.
“The new mineral does not contain fluorine (which it does in the film) and is white rather than green but, in all other respects, the chemistry matches that for the rock containing kryptonite.”
The mineral is relatively hard but is very small grained. Each individual crystal is less than five microns (millionths of a metre) across.
Identifying its atomic structure required sophisticated analytical facilities at Canada’s National Research Council and the assistance and expertise of its researchers, Dr Pamela Whitfield and Dr Yvon Le Page.
“’Knowing a material’s crystal structure means scientists can calculate other physical properties of the material, such as its elasticity or thermochemical properties,” explained Dr Le Page.
“Being able to analyse all the properties of a mineral, both chemical and physical, brings us closer to confirming that it is indeed unique.”
Finding out that the chemical composition of a material was an exact match to an invented formula for the fictitious kryptonite “was the coincidence of a lifetime,” he added.
The mineral cannot be called kryptonite under international nomenclature rules because it has nothing to do with krypton - a real element in the Periodic Table that takes the form of a gas.
Instead, it will be formally named Jadarite when it is described in the European Journal of Mineralogy later this year.
Jadar is the name of the place where the Serbian mine is located.
Dr Stanley said that if deposits occurred in sufficient quantity it could have some commercial value.
It contains boron and lithium - two valuable elements with many applications, he explained.
“Borosilicate glasses are used to encapsulate processed radioactive waste, and lithium is used in batteries and in the pharmaceutical industries.”
They just haven't discovered the right crystal structure yet. When they run across the ice-nine version, all bets are off... =]
Cue in Gene Hackman...
“Great Caesar’s ghost!”
Well, duh! Fluorine is whats makes it green and fluoresce! Not kryptonite w/o the fluorine!
Well they won’t know if it’s real krytonite until they test it on me...
When my son was in middle school he had a science test question “name five elements”
The teacher, a coach, who insisted on the title “coach”, marked wrong the answer “Krypton” with a red penciled note “this is not Superman’s world’.
When my son showed him periodic table including Krypton, he was in disbelief.
Finding out that the chemical composition of a material was an exact match to an invented formula for the fictitious kryptonite was the coincidence of a lifetime, he added.
So, how can it be an "exact match to an invented formula" and not contain one of the elements (fluorine)?
White Kryptonite kills plant life and Bizarro!
Al Gore is deeply concerned! :-)
“coach” is a better description... He’s obviously no teacher....
Nope. Blue kryptonite kills Bizarro.
mazbe Missile Shield can shoot-down Iranian missiles, but Serbs can soot-down Superman!
And its much cheaper!
“You will bow down before me, Jor-El! First you and then, one day, your heirs!” — General Zod
OH NO!!! Blue? I got the wrong stuff!
The Democrats have been trying to use it all along without much success. They've had far better results with Slander and treachery.
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