Superman's kryptonite confirmed in Canada
Warning to Superman: Stay clear of Ottawa. With the help of our very own National Research Council, scientists have identified a mineral with virtually the same composition as kryptonite, the space rock that makes the Man of Steel more like a man of straw.
It all started in Serbia, where geologists working with mining giant Rio Tinto unearthed a drill core of a rock they couldn't match to any known mineral. So they contacted Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum.
He measured the composition, colour, hardness, infrared spectrum and powder-defraction pattern of the sample. "They knew from the start this had to be a new mineral," says Yvon LePage, a principal research officer at the NRC.
However, such measurements alone aren't always enough to get a new mineral accepted by the International Mineralogical Association. Sometimes a sample can be a mixture of several minerals. "The real proof is if you can get [an image of] the crystal structure," says Dr. LePage.