An interesting new study finds that Earth's uniqueness comes down to minerals it has that scientists haven't found anywhere else.
Just what is so unique about the Earth? Some might say its abundance of water, others its perfect location with regards to the sun to allow for ideal temperatures, and others might say a combination of a number of these factors — and while this is true, scientists say it’s another important thing: certain rare minerals found nowhere else, at least not yet.
A recent effort to catalogue the minerals of the world shows just how unique our planet is. Incredibly rare minerals like cobaltominite, edoylerite, and abelsonite can’t be found on any other planet that we know of, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.
Most of these minerals can only form under extremely specific conditions. They might be incredibly difficult to reach, dissolve by sunlight or water, or require the presence of chemicals that are rarely found in the same place.
These minerals actually tell scientists a lot about how the Earth differs from other planets devoid of life. These planets may have the same common minerals we have, but they don’t have the rare ones.
In research published in the journal American Mineralogist, scientists classified about 2,500 of the rarest minerals, which could be a tremendous boon to the scientific community as a resource. These 2,500 rare minerals are part of a catalogue of 5,000 minerals.
To get an idea of just how some of these minerals are, just look at fingerite. Fingerite can only form from the gases of one volcano: Izalco Volcano in El Salvador, when vanadium and copper combine in exactly the right proportions. It is dissolved as soon as the rain comes along, and exists in very small quantities, making it one of the rarest minerals known to man.