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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Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
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