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It's a bird - it's a plane - no, it's Superman!

At least that's what we as kids imagined after relishing the latest comic book or TV show about the superhero.

Fast forward and our imagination is picking up where it left off because scientists have just identified a new mineral with nearly the same composition as Kryptonite! Kryptonite drains Superman's power when he gets too close to the glowing green crystals.

The reality is - this new, earthly kryptonite is not green and is a lot smaller.

Its unusual appearance prompted a mining company to send a sample to Dr. Chris Stanley at London's Natural History Museum.

Dr. Stanley identified the white powdery mineral as sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide. When he used this formula to search the web he was amazed to find it was nearly the same formula as a case of chemicals Lex Luthor stole from a museum.

He's Superman's arch enemy.

Fans would be disappointed to know this new mineral can not be called kryptonite because it has nothing to do with krypton - a real element in the periodic table that takes the form of a gas.

Plus the relatively hard mineral is neither radioactive nor dangerous and comes in tiny little crystals less than half the width of a human hair.

So the new mineral was named Jadarite after the mine in Serbia where it was found.

Since Jadarite contains two valuable elements, boron and lithium, it could be of commercial value in batteries and the pharmaceutical industry.

That's only if there's enough in the ground. While not as exciting as its role in superman - our earthly mineral, Jadarite, can be a source of good rather than evil.

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For more information…

To listen to an National Public Radio program about the discovery of Kryptonite in Serbia…
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The Discovery Channel website has a story that describes the discovery of Jadarite, the mineral whose chemical composition resembles Kryptonite, the only thing that can harm Superman.
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The Natural History Museum in London's website includes an article about the discovery of Jadarite
For more information…

For the true rock hounds in our audience, Mindat.org is a very large mineral database and mineralogical reference website on the internet. This site contains worldwide data on minerals, mineral collecting, mineral localities and other mineralogical information.
For more information…

The official website for the movie "Superman Returns."
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Two sites for information about the DC Comics Superman:
For more information… (1)
For more information… (2)

 
 

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