Press Release 08/01/2017
Big Data Points Humanity to New Minerals, New Deposits
Applying big data analysis to mineralogy offers a way to predict minerals missing from those known to science, as well as where to find new deposits, according to a groundbreaking study.
In a paper published by American Mineralogist, Hazen and colleagues report the first application to mineralogy of network theory (best known for analysis of e.g. the spread of disease, terrorist networks, or Facebook connections).
Led by Shaunna Morrison of the Deep Carbon Observatory and DCO Executive Director Robert Hazen (both at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.), the paper’s 12 authors include DCO colleagues Peter Fox and Ahmed Eleish at the Keck Foundation sponsored Deep-Time Data Infrastructure Data Science Teams at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY.
The results, they say, pioneer a potential way to reveal mineral diversity and distribution worldwide, their evolution through deep time, new trends, and new deposits of valuable minerals such as gold or copper.
Says Dr. Hazen: “Network analysis can provide visual clues to mineralogists regarding where to go and what to look for. This is a brand new idea in the paper and I think it will open up an entirely new direction in mineralogy.”
Morrison SM, Liu C, Eleish A, Prabhu A, Li C, Ralph J, Downs RT, Golden JJ, Fox P, Hummer DR, Meyer MB, Hazen RM (2017) Network analysis of mineralogical systems. American Mineralogist 102(8):1588-1596