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HOW STUFF WORKS / INDUSTRY

Superman Mineral Found By Australians

By David Richards | Wednesday | 25/04/2007

An Australian company searching in the far north of Serbia has discovered a Kryptonite type mineral. Kryptonite was the mineral that sucked the power out of comic hero Superman.

An Australian company Rio Tinto has discovered a mineral in Serbia that geologists say is very close to Kryptonite the mineral that helped make Superman a hero.

Dr. Chris Stanley of the Natural History Museum of UK was contacted by Rio Tinto after they failed to identify the mineral that they had discovered. According to him, when the chemical formula was searched for on the web it revealed something rather startling— the mineral was identical to Kryptonite, the fictitious chemical which sucks power out of Superman. Lex Luther stole Kryptonite in the 2006 movie Superman Returns.
 
The chemical formula of the new substance comprises of sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with an exception to flourine. The mineral will be named Jadarite.

As far as the Superman legend goes, the hero came from a planet named Krypton, which is also an element found on earth. Sir William Ramsay discovered krypton in 1898. It belongs to the family of inert gases like Helium, Argon and Neon. It is often used in signboards, flashy lights etc.
 
The new mineral has taken scientists by surprise and currently research is being conducted to identify the commercial value of the find. The discovery of this white mineral is already being described as a boon for mankind as it can be used in its naturally occurring state as an important source of Lithium, which is currently only available small quantities. Lithium is currently used in ion batteries or as a source of borate which is a cleaning agent popularly known as borax.
 
The startling coincidence is that Jerry Nigel, the creator of Superman named the hero's home planet, Krypton. It is possible that Siegel was aware of the properties of Krypton, the element but the reason for having named a planet after it remains a mystery.
 
Differences between Kryptonite and Jadarite:
Kryptonite is said to be radioactive whereas Jadarite is not.
Jadarite is not related to the element, Krypton.
Jadarite is not like the green rock shown in the movie.
The chemical formula of Kryptonite also has the addition of fluorine to it that was included in the 2006 movie, Superman Returns.

Similarities:

Superman's home planet, Krypton bears the same name and spelling as a real element on the chemical periodic table.
The discovery is in itself a miracle. The Superman series have had a realistic impact on the minds of the people. Various interpretations have come out related to the Krypton- Superman theory. For decades people almost believed that Superman could have been for real.

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