Meet the Minerals
Don't judge a mineral by its cover. Because that fine, hair-like coating might turn out to be a new mineral. At least that was the case with the newly named merelaniite, a cylindrite-group mineral discovered by a team of researchers led by John Jaszczak, a professor of physics at Michigan Tech. The tiny gray whiskers of merelaniite had been around a while, but had probably been regularly cleaned off larger, better-known crystals like the gemstone tanzanite. The name of the new mineral was chosen by Jaszczak and his colleagues after the township of Mererani, known more commonly in the mineral and gemological communities as "Merelani," in honor of the local miners working in the nearby tanzanite gem mines in northern Tanzania where the new mineral occurs.