New Minerals – Fingerprint

New Minerals – Fingerprint

Kampf: My research involves describing new minerals ones that have never been found before.

There are about 5000 minerals known to science, but new ones are being discovered all the time. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Kampf: Right now I’m working on a sample from a deposit very close to the town of Baker, California, actually, within sight of the freeway.

Tony Kampf is curator emeritus of Minerals at the LA county Natural History Museum

Kampf: We’re going to shoot x-rays through this sample, and the information that we get from that will tell us what it is.

On a computer screen we see different colored concentric circles like a bull’s eye with many fine rings.

Kampf: Each one of those rings corresponds to a plane of atoms running through the structure of the crystal, and, depending upon the spacing of these lines and how intense they are, we can determine things about the internal arrangement of atoms. And actually, what this serves as basically, a fingerprint of the mineral to tell us what it is. We can then do a search through a large database and see if we can find a match between that pattern and the data in the database. And what we find, basically, by scanning through here, is that nothing exactly matches. And so, based upon that, we think this is actually a new mineral.

The X-Ray Defractometer is just one of a number of tests that Tony Kampf does to determine whether or not the sample is truly something new.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

New Minerals - Fingerprint

There are about 5000 minerals known to science, but new ones are being discovered all the time.
Air Date:03/07/2014
Scientist:
Transcript:

New Minerals - Fingerprint

Kampf: My research involves describing new minerals ones that have never been found before.

There are about 5000 minerals known to science, but new ones are being discovered all the time. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Kampf: Right now I'm working on a sample from a deposit very close to the town of Baker, California, actually, within sight of the freeway.

Tony Kampf is curator emeritus of Minerals at the LA county Natural History Museum

Kampf: We're going to shoot x-rays through this sample, and the information that we get from that will tell us what it is.

On a computer screen we see different colored concentric circles like a bull's eye with many fine rings.

Kampf: Each one of those rings corresponds to a plane of atoms running through the structure of the crystal, and, depending upon the spacing of these lines and how intense they are, we can determine things about the internal arrangement of atoms. And actually, what this serves as basically, a fingerprint of the mineral to tell us what it is. We can then do a search through a large database and see if we can find a match between that pattern and the data in the database. And what we find, basically, by scanning through here, is that nothing exactly matches. And so, based upon that, we think this is actually a new mineral.

The X-Ray Defractometer is just one of a number of tests that Tony Kampf does to determine whether or not the sample is truly something new.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.