Rare minerals discovered in Puerto Princesa Underground River
Scientists recently found rare minerals in the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in Palawan, according to a report on dzBB radio this Thursday, adding to the site's prestige as a recent addition to the 7 New Wonders of Nature.
According to Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn, "serrabrancaite" or manganese phosphate is not usually found in regular caves: other than in Palawan, the only other known deposits are in Sierra Branca, Brazil.
Serrabrancaite is formed from the mineralization of "guano" —the droppings of bats and seabirds that make their homes inside caves, according to researchers.
According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje in a separate statement on the agency's website, the deposits in Palawan were confirmed by famous crystallographer Dr. Paolo Forti, a member of the Italian La Venta Geographical Association scientific expedition to the PPUR.
“Cave experts themselves are amazed because only few caves in the world host more than three to four minerals, yet in the PPUR alone, they have unearthed at least 11, of which three are new cave minerals," Paje said.
Aside from serrabrancaite, the expedition also discovered two more new minerals: robertsite and janggunite. Other common but notable minerals found in the cave were calcite, gypsum, apatite, variscite, strengite, manganite, rodocrosite, and pirolusite.
7 New Wonders of Nature
The PPUR received some of the most votes in the recently concluded New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign.
The Philippine government actively campaigned for the PPUR to be included in the prestigious list, with no less than President Benigno Aquino III making a public appeal in June.
The New7Wonders Foundation released the initial results of the Internet and SMS voting this past Saturday. The group said that it will publish the official results in 2012, following a thorough review of the voting results.
Aside from the Palawan Underground River, the list of seven wonders also includes the Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo, and Table Mountain. — TJD, GMA News
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