Category: Geology You Use Every Day

Guest Videos: Chromium, A Critical Mineral

Most people think of one or more of the following when they hear the word “chromium”: Shiny, shiny chrome The open-source platform underlying Google’s browser Health supplements The “stainless” part of stainless steel Chemistry class These are all common enough (plus the software has nothing to do with the physical element). So why does the

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Cesium–A Critical Mineral

Cesium (“caesium,” outside the US) is not just a ringtone. Nor is it simply the atom used in ultra-precise clocks that make everything from the Internet to GPS possible, thanks to accurate time stamps. Yes, cesium defines time itself. Although it can be hazardous in some forms, cesium also is extremely useful in a variety

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Guest Video: Dreamland

This isn’t a dreamy video, despite its name, although it does have some incredibly beautiful shots. It’s the trailer for a movie about a controversy over aluminum smelters in Iceland. Basically, smelters use a lot of electricity (over 14 megawatts per ton, on average) and Iceland’s relatively inexpensive hydropower and geothermal power have attracted “Big

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Aluminum: A Critical Mineral

Most residents of the United States think of foil, beverage cans, and recycling when we hear the word “aluminum” (or “aluminium”); then lots of other things come to mind, including vehicles, aircraft, and various items in our homes and offices. Aluminum is even more widespread than we realize. As a metal, it’s also used in

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Guest Video: Vanadium

This element was named after a Norse goddess of beauty because it comes in many colors, which chemists enjoy playing with: Hard to believe vanadium is also a critical mineral used in metal alloys, as well as a possible cancer drug! This colorful element is found in multivitamin supplements, though there is no US recommended

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Guest Video: Selenium, Mercury, and Fish

Did you ever wonder why there is a mineral named after a Moon goddess in your daily vitamin? It was one of those weird naming things, according to Dr. Wikipedia. The scientist who discovered the element noticed that it was similar to another element that had already been named after the Earth. Whatever the etymology,

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Guest Video: Did Geothermal Plant Cause A Quake?

Fracking isn’t the only human activity that involves pumping water through rocks. Steam produced by geothermally heated water is an alternative energy source meant to help free us from burning fossil fuels. Last week, two scientific papers were published that raised the possibility of a geothermal plant in South Korea causing or at least contributing

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Guest Videos: People LOVE Bismuth!

This element is on the critical mineral list, and not simply because it soothes an upset tummy. But bismuth is also a lot of fun. No, wait! Wait! I want to see more of those colors! Believe it or not, bismuth has even inspired artwork. Featured image: <a href="; target="_blank"Fill, at Pixabay. Public domain.