Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Spheniscidite … Penguins' Poop is a Mineral …

 

I thought 'Clunch' was interesting enough ... but now 'I hear' that there's a catalogue detailing the origins and diversity of every known mineral on earth …


Elephant Island - an ice-covered
mountainous island

which is certainly helping scientists realise our planet's history of life, yet also perhaps predicting possible characteristics of future life …



we do live in wonderful times – so interesting to learn these snippets, even though I don't really understand … I just love the learning curve.



Talk about a bleak place ... 

Nature has so so much to offer us … and we do not, most definitely do not, know how our life is made up … so so many components …



These mineral time capsules are made up from 57 “recipes” to create more than 10,500 “mineral kinds” - through crushing, zapping, boiling, baking and more …


Phyllites near Ben Lomond,
Scotland


Each mineral holds details about the Earth from when the rock was formed, allowing scientists to gain information about the emergence of life and the evolution of the planets.





The title of this post: Spheniscidite … is a phosphate mineral formed by reaction of penguin guano and the phyllitic soil of Elephant Island, Antartica …



A collage of Penguins

The poop of the penguins causes a little bit of magic to happen in the soil … to give us the mineral Spheniscidite (named from the Penguin order Sphenisciformes) a phosphate mineral.




Tomato plant possibly benefitting from
Spheniscidite ... 


Phosphate is one of the three main nutrients in fertilizers … it can be turned into phosphoric acid, which is used in everything from food and cosmetics to animal feed and electronics …



what else can poop tell us about life? 

I thought you'd be pleased I haven't added an image of 'poo' ... ?!


BBC article - Science Environment ... making minerals

New Scientist - 'Reclassification of earth's minerals reveals 4,000 more than we thought' ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

37 comments:

Susan Kane said...

Such photos! Your photos always make me ask questions.

Liz A. said...

Lots of interesting information out there, if only you know where to look.

Elephant's Child said...

Smiling broadly here. There is so much to learn isn't there? I will never learn it all, just as I will never read everything, but will (I hope) go to my death trying on both counts. And I have a HUGE weakness for penguins.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Fantastic info-byte!!! I totally understand that lust for learning... YAM xx

Janie Junebug said...

It never occurred to me that penguin poop could be powerful.

Love,
Janie

John Holton said...

What, no poop pictures?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So to solve the world's fertilizer problem, we need more penguin poop?

Hels said...

I have been very interested in penguins in the last few years, including in blog posts. Since their numbers were disappearing from many of their habitats, I was keen to follow the moves to save them from extinction.

But who knew that penguins poo causes the soil to become enriched via a phosphate mineral. I even had to go to a map to find where Elephant Island was with relation to Antarctica. But happily the island seems to be a centre of serious research now.

Thanks for the link
Hels
https://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com/2022/06/protecting-beautiful-australian.html

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan – thank you … I enjoy putting the photos up … they can bring life to a post …

@ Liz – yes … it's picking up information … that's why I like to put up various links, if appropriate …

@ EC – there is so much to learn … and who would think about penguin poop being so important to life …

I too wish I'd love to learn more – but I just touch some of the information out there … and like you yes I hope to continue to read and learn more …

@ Yam – great … delighted you enjoyed this – and that lust for learning is an essential in my life …

@ Janie – odd how life delivers items that teach us about ourselves and this earth …

@ John – I did look … but decided it wasn't necessary!! So apologies – yes, no poop pics …

@ Alex – yes … guano has been an essential to this world for about 200 years – as a fertiliser … well other types of bird poo too …

@ Hels – Penguins are wonderful birds aren't they – no doubt they need protection to do what they do in life … without human tourists … yet human science and knowledge helps …

Guano made a few people very rich here in the 1800s in the UK, and no doubt in other parts of the world … the house Tyntesfield was built on the back of guano … I wrote a post in 2013 about the house – 'held in time' …

I was going to put a map up – but thought people would look, if they were interested … as you were.

Thanks so much everyone – nothing like a bit of muck in the morning … cheers Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Who knew, Hilary? Your scatalogical sleuthing has turned up an interesting discovery previously unknown to most of the sentient world, including penguin enthusiasts like me who have travelled to the far corners of the globe to see them, and is possessed of a shelf of erudite tomes about them. Guano I knew about, Spheniscidite not so much! I can pronounce it sober, but having imbibed a glass of wine or two I might stumble. We are all now waiting to see what strange and unusual facts await us in your next post. No doubt ideas are already percolating in the labyrinths of your mind! Have a lovely Wednesday!

Liza said...

Well, huh! Who knew! My daughter loves penguins. I'll have to share this bit of info with her!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Poo can't be poohpoohed! :) Your posts are always packed with surprise infotainment. Hope your week is going well.

H.R. Sinclair said...

That is so cool! ... The more you know...

Thanks!

Jacqui Murray said...

Dare I ask how you came across the quality of penguin poop? On my wildest day, I don't think I would.

bazza said...

I agree with your comment about loving the learning curve. That's what keeps me going sometimes and I don't intend to ever stop (and I don't care about that split infinitive!) For me, ANY subject can be made interesting by the right source or person; I spend a lot of time listening to TED talks.
I may have neglected my Blog a bit lately but I haven't been idle!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

A interesting read

diedre Knight said...

I love learning new things too. This was really interesting! A good reminder of how important every creature is. We all have a purpose, even if we don't know it.

Dan said...

Those are some interesting connections. From penguin poop to rocks.

Denise Covey said...

Yes, Hilary, amongst all the turmoil and disaster, we need to remember that there are amazing things happening too!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David – well the catalogue was 15 years in the making … and I enjoy minerals, and that sleuthing as to the mysteries of the planet – how it came to be etc … always interests me …

Guano was a wealth maker back in the 1800s … funny how humans can find ways to make money … Spheniscidite is one of those 'new' minerals listed.

If my posts entertain, as well as educate somewhat – then I'm happy, but more happy when people enjoy them. Perhaps I should have gone down the scatalogical route … but my mind has enough problems already … and yes I'm on the next few posts …

@ Nila – poo cannot be poopoohed! Thanks – there's definitely infotainment here, probably educatainment too … as long as they're enjoyed, that's the main thing …

@ Holly – thank you … yes the more you know, the more those puzzles pop into place …

@ Jacqui – knowing that guano made men wealthy … then checking the links in the post … I get amused by strange subjects and items! I'm sure your mind is as varied as mine …

@ Bazza – thank you … I can't do without learning now-a-days … and always move on to more … and like you I'm sure I'll always continue to learn – my mind is definitely full of plenty of odds and ends.

I enjoy the TED talks – but have so many other things floating around my brain waves – that I'm not hooked into them. There's one I want to listen to sometime soon – post to follow!

I hope you'll put something new up on your blog soon … but I expect you've been out and about leading tours, looking at new exhibitions – enjoy …

@ Jo-Anne – thank you …

@ Diedre – delighted you enjoyed the brief learning curve here … penguins are very special, and as you say every creature is important to life on earth …

@ Dan – yes I did connect a few dots … but it seems we all enjoyed those connections ...perhaps penguin poop to petrology would be more appropriate!

Thanks so much to you all – delighted you enjoyed my scatological run around – cheers Hilary

Susan Scott said...

It's a tongue twister! Fascinating how one thing becomes another and thus has a different essential use. Thanks Hilary! All best, Susan

Keith's Ramblings said...


I wasn't expecting to read about poop when I went online this morning! Interesting and informative as ever Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Liza – apologies for lateness in replying … I'm afraid you went to spam …

Oh – thanks for sharing this with your daughter … and so glad you enjoyed it …

@ Denise – you too went off to spam … who goes when and why we'll never know!

Our turmoil here is putrid … so a little education on the side to divert our minds never did us any harm …

Life goes on – regardless of us humans …

@ Susan – it's certainly an interesting word … while the components as you say become something else and thus are found to be an essential for our living lives …

@ Keith – sorry! But as you say interesting and informative …

I'm happy you all enjoyed this odd posting – such is my mind … thanks for visiting cheers Hilary

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Hilary - I continue to learn a great deal from your posts. This time you had me Googling from the opening title word. Fascinating!

cleemckenzie said...

Who knew poop could hold such fascination? However, you've done it again, Hilary--informed and entertained.

mail4rosey said...

It's amazing how everything seems to affect so many other things, isn't it? Marvelous when you really let it sink in.

Sandra Cox said...

Interesting. And yes, I'm glad you didn't add that particular image:)

D.G. Kaye said...

Who knew penguin manure was good fertilizer? Lol thanks Hilary xx

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Donna - thank you ... I enjoy the posts I put up (well most of them) - but I do thank you for googling things - there's so much opportunity for us to learn things.

@ Lee - I know ... poop does hold a great deal of information - they're even analysing Roman poop and learning things about what was going on when Vesuvius erupted and buried that early town (Pompeii) ...

Thank you for the comment about the post ... I aim to do both ...

@ Rosey - it is extraordinary how life is one great puzzle ... and as you say if one stops briefly to let the things we can see and learn about fall into place ... like you say - it is marvellous ...

@ Sandra - I know ... I didn't think I needed to add an image of that sort ... !

@ Debby - I know ... fun thought isn't it ... and lots to learn from poop - be it penguin or other animals' poo ...

Thanks for visiting and appreciating the poo spread! Cheers Hilary

Tara Tyler said...

so much info here - i reviewed some past posts too
from mineral discoveries to phenomenal movies — you are illuminating us to the future through the past and giving us HOPE!
thanks for the inspiration =)

Sandra Cox said...

Enjoy your weekend, Hils.
Cheers,

DMS said...

Always fun learning new things. Poop is definitely interesting. It is used for so many things and can create so many things when mixed with other ingredients. There is so much to learn and discover! :) Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Cox said...

The making of minerals is fascinating, isn't it, Hils?
Hope you're having a great week.

Sandra Cox said...

Have a creative day.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Tara - thanks for looking back ... some fun, some serious posts - that film is a MUST WATCH! Our great earth ... minerals etc ... so much to learn - inspiring us on for each day ...

Good to see you here and for being inspired! ...

@ Sandra - been busy, but later today I'll get a post up ... thanks for all the supportive comments ...

Cheers to you both and all who come past ... Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jess - apologies ... only rescued you after I'd posted above ...

Poop always amuses ... while it is an incredible valuable material - that we humans have made a great deal of use of ...

Glad you enjoyed the thoughts here - cheers Hilary

Joanne said...

everybody poops - always a classic book for kids. Such a deep subject of life and so necessary