Mineralogy, as a subject, often has a hard time. Despite it’s place at the core of the traditional geological sciences, and its importance in a huge variety of other subjects, mineralogy sometimes has a reputation of being complicated and inaccessible and, well, some people have even called it boring. This is also related to the way that minerals are often hugely misunderstood by non-geoscientists, despite many people having picked up and admired a mineral at some point in their lives (if not engaged in the gateway study of geoscience – collecting crystals as a child). In addition some people’s love of minerals because they are ‘pretty’ is often dismissed by some geoscientists – as not being a ‘real’ appreciation for the material in question.
Well, as this photo of sulphur crystals in close-up by Ulrich Kueppers proves, there is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating a mineral because of its beauty. In fact if you head over to social media during the month of September, you will find that the annual mineral appreciation competition, the Mineral Cup – #MinCup2020 – is in full swing, with people sharing all kinds of reasons why a certain mineral is their favourite. From aesthetics to chemistry, personal stories to benefits to society, jokes, research and all kinds of fun new facts, everyone’s opinion is valid, but there can be only one winner…
Will it be the ever controversial Opal? Will one of the newcomers added this year: Lizardite, Elbaite, Uraninite, Rhodonite etc, take the crown? There are even some sulphur minerals in there, if you are inspired by today’s image to vote for them, Cinnabar (which has already progressed to the second round) and Realgar! But as always the one thing we do know is that we are already enjoying the outpouring of love and appreciation for mineralogy by geoscientists and non-geoscientists alike, sharing their excitement for this sometimes underappreciated part of our science.
Description by Hazel Gibson, EGU Communications Officer (#TeamSparkle).
Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their photographs and videos to this repository and, since it is open access, these images can be used for free by scientists for their presentations or publications, by educators and the general public, and some images can even be used freely for commercial purposes. Photographers also retain full rights of use, as Imaggeo images are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence. Submit your photos at http://imaggeo.egu.eu/upload/.