The sudden severing of rare earths supply was a frightening prospect as the minerals are key ingredients in a broad range of high-tech products, from smartphones to wind turbines and hybrid cars. Although the bans have since been lifted, governments around the world saw the ban as a kind of wake-up call and started looking at ways to develop their own mineral resources — for rare earths as well as basic industry metals like copper and zinc.
As EARTH explores in "Is There Really a Minerals Crisis?" in the August issue, the rare earths scare of last fall prompted scientists from academia, government and industry alike to reconsider the question of the world's supply of minerals in general — and how governments should, going forward, invest in new exploration. At issue, economic geologists argue, is not whether the geological reserves of these minerals exist. Instead, they say, any shortages have more to do with ongoing sociological and political impediments to minerals exploration and mining.
Read how Europe and other parts of the world are trying to surmount the sociological and political issues surrounding mining. Plus, learn about other topics such as what scientists are finding in mysterious sinkholes beneath the Great Lakes, how the Large Hadron Collider is answering long-standing theoretical physics questions, and how natural gas fracking is affecting well water in the August issue. And don't miss the cover stories about traveling to Australia and New Zealand.
These stories and many more can be found in the August issue of EARTH, now available digitally or in print on your local newsstands.
For further information on the August featured article, go to http://www.earthmagazine.org/earth/article/45f-7db-7-8.
Keep up to date with the latest happenings in earth, energy and environment news with EARTH magazine, available on local newsstands or online at http://www.earthmagazine.org/. Published by the American Geological Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.
Megan Sever | EurekAlert!
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
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