The new mineral is named ‘Putnisite’ after Drs Christine and Andrew Putnis from the University of Münster, Germany, for their outstanding contributions to mineralogy.

'Putnisite', was found in a surface outcrop at Lake Cowan, north of Norseman in Western Australia.
The new mineral occurs as tiny crystals, no more than 0.5 mm in diameter and is found on a volcanic rock. It appears as dark pink spots on dark green and white rock which, under the microscope, appears as square, cube-like crystals.
It combines the elements strontium, calcium, chromium, sulphur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen - a very unusual combination. It has yet to be determined if the new mineral will have any practical use, researchers said.
"What defines a mineral is its chemistry and crystallography," said Dr Peter Elliott, who is also a Research Associate with the South Australian Museum.

"By x-raying a single crystal of mineral you are able to determine its crystal structure and this, in conjunction with chemical analysis, tells you everything you need to know about the mineral,” he added.

Dr Elliott further said, "Most minerals belong to a family or small group of related minerals, or if they are not related to other minerals they often are to a synthetic compound - but ‘Putnisite’ is completely unique and unrelated to anything.”

The mineral was discovered during prospecting by a mining company in WA and handed on to Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) for initial research and then to Elliott for more detailed analysis.

Putnisite has been named for Australian mineralogists Andrew and Christine Putnis.


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