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Tuesday,16-August-2022

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15-year study details origins, diversity of every known mineral

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A 15-year study led by the Carnegie Institution for Science details the origins and diversity of every known mineral on the Earth, a landmark body of work that will help reconstruct the history of life on the earth, guide the search for new minerals and ore deposits, predict possible characteristics of future life, and aid the search for habitable planets and extraterrestrial life.

In twin papers published by American Mineralogist and sponsored in part by NASA, Carnegie scientists Robert Hazen and Shaunna Morrison detail a novel approach to clustering (lumping) kindred species of minerals together or splitting off new species based on when and how they originated.

Once mineral genesis is factored in, the number of “mineral kinds” — a newly-coined term — totals more than 10,500, a number about 75 per cent greater than the roughly 6,000 mineral species recognized by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) on the basis of crystal structure and chemical composition alone.

“This work fundamentally changes our view of the diversity of minerals on the planet,” says Hazen, Staff Scientist with the Earth and Planets Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington DC.

“For example, more than 80 per cent of earth’s minerals were mediated by water, which is, therefore, fundamentally important to mineral diversity on this planet. By extension, this explains one of the key reasons why the moon and mercury and even mars have far fewer mineral species than the earth.”

“The work also tells us something very profound about the role of biology,” he adds. “One third of earth’s minerals could not have formed without biology — shells and bones and teeth, or microbes, for example, or the vital indirect role of biology, such as by creating an oxygen-rich atmosphere that led to 2,000 minerals that wouldn’t have formed otherwise.”

“Each mineral specimen has a history. Each tells a story. Each is a time capsule that reveals earth’s past as nothing else can.”

According to the paper, nature created 40 per cent of earth’s mineral species in more than one way — for example, both abiotically and with a helping hand from cells — and in several cases used more than 15 different recipes to produce the same crystal structure and chemical composition.

Of the 5,659 recognized mineral species surveyed by Hazen and colleagues, nine came into being via 15 or more different physical, chemical and/or biological processes — everything from near-instantaneous formation by lightning or meteor strikes, to changes caused by water-rock interactions or transformations at high pressures and temperature spanning hundreds of millions of years.

And, as if to show she has a sense of humour, nature has used 21 different ways over the last 4.5 billion years to create pyrite (aka Fool’s Gold) — the mineral world’s champion of diverse origins.

Pyrite forms at high temperature and low, with and without water, with the help of microbes and in harsh environments where life plays no role whatsoever.

Composed of one part iron to two parts sulfide (FeS2), pyrite is derived and delivered via meteorites, volcanoes, hydrothermal deposits, by pressure between layers of rock, near-surface rock weathering, microbially-precipitated deposits, several mining-associated processes, including coal mine fires, and many other means.

To reach their conclusions, Hazen and Morrison built a database of every known process of formation of every known mineral.

Relying on large, open-access mineral databases, amplified by thousands of primary research articles on the geology of mineral localities around the world, they identified 10,556 different combinations of minerals and modes of formation, detailed in the paper, “On the paragenetic modes of minerals: A mineral evolution perspective.”

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The poet who first called for complete independence, coined ‘Inquilab Zindabad’

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 Syed Fazal-ul-Hasan, popularly known as Hasrat Mohani was born in 1875 in Mohan, a town in Unnao district of the United Provinces of British India. He proposed complete independence for the first time before the Congress in 1921. He also proposed the abolition of foreign goods, the idea which Gandhiji later developed into a movement.

Hasrat was his pen name under which he wrote Urdu poetry and his last name ‘Mohani’ refers to his birthplace Mohan. Hasrat Mohani received his initial education at home and earned his BA degree from Aligarh in 1903.

In 1904, Hasrat Mohani joined Indian National Congress and joined the national movement. In 1905, he also took part in the Swadeshi Tehreek run by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

He was an active participant in the Khilafat movement of 1919. In 1921, he coined the slogan “Inquilab Zindabad”, and went on to participated in the Ahmedabad session of the Congress in the same year. The phrase “Inquilab Zindabad” was later popularised by Bhagat Singh.

Professor Ajay Tiwari, who retired from Delhi University, said: “Hasrat Mohani had proposed complete independence for the first time in the Congress in 1921, which was opposed by Mahatma Gandhi. The two were friends but there was also an ideological conflict between them. When Mahatma Gandhi started the Khaddar (Khadi) movement, Mohani opposed it. He believed that the indigenous industry would be ruined and the workers would be punished.”

When Mohani proposed to boycott foreign goods, Gandhiji eventually accepted the idea and 10 years later, the Swadeshi movement began. Gandhi mentioned this in his autobiography that due to Mohani’s insistence, he was “compelled”. He wrote: “I was compelled to include the non-cooperation movement in the Swadeshi movement.”

It is said about Hasrat Mohani that, when he went to study in Aligarh, he did not wear the kind of pajamas people there popularly wore, he used to wear a normal kurta and carried a paan daan with him and wrote poetry. The orthodox people of Aligarh were annoyed by his dressing and the way he walked.

Mohani came out with a newspaper (Urdu-e-Mualla) that he used for furthering the cause of freedom. This angered the British who imposed a fine of Rs. 3,000.

When Mohani got his property assessed to pay the fine, his possessions summed up to a value of 50 Rupees. Because of this he went to jail. After being released from jail, he kept writing against the British and was imprisoned repeatedly.

Hasrat Mohani opposed fundamentalists, irrespective of their religion. He was secular and such people were few in the freedom movement. While living in Aligarh, he opposed the ideas of Sir Syed. This was no minor thing.

When the Constituent Assembly of India was formed in 1946, he was elected as a member from the state of Uttar Pradesh. He opposed the partition of India in 1947 and preferred to stay in India.

Maulana Hasrat Mohani died on 13 May 1951 in Lucknow.

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AAP emerging as possible headache for both BJP, Cong in MP

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 The Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, to be held next year, are expected to be very interesting as there is a possibility of a close contest between the two major parties, the BJP and the Congress.

However, it is the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which could be worrisome for both the parties.

There has always been a possibility of the BJP’s vote share getting shifted towards other political parties in the state. In the previous Assembly polls as well, candidates of the Gondwana Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janshakti Party and Ajay Bharat Party have won.

But eventually, the strength of these third parties weakened. However, it is the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP which is now considered as a new player in Madhya Pradesh, after it made a splash in the urban local body polls.

In Singrauli Municipal Corporation, AAP’s mayor and 40 councillors were elected, which, in terms of numbers, may be small but has helped the party mark its emergence in the state.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, 114 candidates of the Congress were elected, while 109 BJP candidates won. However, the Congress government lasted for only a year and a half, due to the defection of MLAs, after which, the BJP returned to power.

In the urban body elections, the Congress got 5 mayors while the BJP had nine, which points towards Madhya Pradesh witnessing one of its most interesting Assembly polls in 2023.

The AAP has also started preparing for the election. It is currently doing volunteer mapping and is trying to have volunteers in every village.

Presently, the AAP’s emphasis is on proper organisation at the grassroots level, after which it will increase its political activities rapidly. Currently, the party is also excited about its big initial success in the urban body elections.

Senior AAP leader Akshay Hunka said that his party will fight the upcoming Assembly elections with full preparation and strength.

Political analysts believe that the entry of the AAP into the electoral fray will prove to be troublesome for both the BJP and the Congress, as there will be dissatisfaction among both the parties and the number of rebels will be more than in the last elections.

These rebels from both the parties could be fielded as AAP candidates which could be worrisome for both the Congress and the BJP.

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Mohan Bhagwat, RSS, Sangh leaders put Tricolour as DP on social media accounts

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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, Sangh leaders and RSS have removed the display picture of their official social media accounts and replaced it with Tricolour.

The RSS on Saturday shared a 48 second video on its official Twitter account in which Bhagwat and other Sangh officials can be seen hoisting Tricolour on different occasions.

The move comes in the wake of questions being posed by Congress and other opposition leaders to RSS in context of the Tricolour.

On the occasion of 75th anniversary of the Independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to all countrymen to change their DP on social media and put Tricolour on it.

In line with the Prime Minister’s ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, the RSS has also urged the people to awaken self-respect and tweeted,” Celebrate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Hoist the Tricolor in every house. Awaken the national self-respect.”

Making a big issue out of the appeal of the prime minister, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said, “Har Ghar Tiranga campaign is being run by those, who (RSS) didn’t hoist Tricolour for 52 years.”

“They could not stop Congress from fighting for the freedom of the country, and they will not be able to stop it today too,” the Wayanad MP said.

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