A newly christened mineral has an atomic structure that’s similar to diamond and nearly as hard. Qingsongite was first created in the laboratory in 1957, and geologists first found natural qingsongite, which is a cubic boron nitride, in chromium-rich rocks in Tibet in 2009.
The mineral is named after deceased Chinese geologist Qingsong Fang, who discovered diamond in similar Tibetan rocks in the late 1970s. Cubic boron nitride is the only boron mineral formed deep within the Earth. About 180 million years ago, the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates brought qingsongite near the planet’s surface. An international team announced the discovery and new mineral name, now officially sanctioned by the International Mineralogical Association, in August.
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