NASA's new mineral dust detector readies for launch

Each year, strong winds carry more than a billion metric tons—or the weight of 10,000 aircraft carriers—of mineral dust from Earth's deserts and other dry regions through the atmosphere. While scientists know that the ...

Early human ancestors one million years older than thought

The fossils of our earliest ancestors found in South Africa are a million years older than previously thought, meaning they walked the Earth around the same time as their East African relatives like the famous "Lucy", according ...

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A mineral is a naturally occurring solid formed through geological processes that has a characteristic chemical composition, a highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. A rock, by comparison, is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids, and need not have a specific chemical composition. Minerals range in composition from pure elements and simple salts to very complex silicates with thousands of known forms. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.

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