Steatite, the rare and expensive mineral from a volcanic rock, is becoming increasingly popular in recent years.
The mineral, which is formed when the Earth’s crust is heated by the sun, has been used for centuries to insulate the outer layers of Earth’s atmosphere.
As a result, many people who live in the tropics, especially in South America and in parts of Asia, believe that the mineral has magical properties.
In an article on the Smithsonian website, historian Eric D’Agostino described the use of steatites as “a magical way of making things happen.”
In a book published in 2000, the late anthropologist Arthur M. MacPherson wrote, “The use of the element steat is more or less universal among natives of the Amazon basin, whose traditions say that it is a material of great power.”
And a 2004 report by the United Nations Institute for Trade and Development concluded that the “steatites of the Andes are among the most precious minerals on Earth.”
Yet, it’s difficult to study the uses of steatohests.
“Steatite is a relatively new mineral,” says Daniel Bock, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado Boulder.
He and his colleagues have studied the mineral for decades, but “we have never had a good idea of its exact nature or how it is used.”
Bock’s research, which began in 2010, focused on the use and distribution of steats in Peru, a country that has a history of conflict and conflict-related violence.
Bock found that while the mining and processing of the mineral could result in significant quantities of material, the amount of the minerals’ use varied widely.
In one study, for example, he and his team found that a small fraction of the steatitic material they examined was used for making insulation, while much of it was used to make insulation and decorative jewelry.
In another study, Bock and his group found that between 70 and 85 percent of the steel used in commercial products in Peru was made of the material.
Bocks and his research team have found that most of the aluminum in the country’s commercial aluminum industry comes from a small number of steated steatitite mines.
“We can’t really get into the specifics of where those steatits are,” Bock says.
“But the results of our investigations show that the steats are often used for decorative purposes.”
What Bock finds interesting is that he’s also found evidence of the mining of a very large number of these steatittites, which the team has found to be a form of pollution.
“I’m interested in the kinds of problems that could be created,” Bocks says.
The problem with the use Steatites are very rare.
In 2010, the world produced almost 2 billion tons of the rare metal, which was about 30 percent of global production.
However, most of that production was used in Asia, and there is no evidence of them being used in Europe, Bocks notes.
Bocking says that his research is based on data from mining companies in Peru that report how much of their product they’re using.
But he says that he has found evidence that mining companies are also using steatitiite for decorative applications.
“In Peru, we know that there are very many of these mining companies,” he says.
He has also seen evidence of steatiite being used as an insulator in a variety of products, including jewelry, blankets, and blankets.
Bocked says that it’s hard to make sense of the way these steats might be used.
“It seems like the most obvious use would be as insulation,” he adds.
But Bock points out that this insulation would be more likely to cause damage to the environment and human health.
He notes that, while the mineral is mined in the Amazon Basin, it is not abundant.
In addition, it could also be used for other purposes.
“The question is, are these uses occurring in Peru and the United States?” he says, noting that the amount and type of waste produced by these mines is not known.
“If it’s not being used for something, it may not be that it has any use for anything.”
For example, it has been estimated that a significant portion of the coal mined in Peru is used to heat homes, and that some of the waste produced from that coal could end up in the ocean.
“A lot of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere through that process is released in a process called evaporation, and we don’t know what that process does,” says Bock.
“That makes it hard to draw any conclusions.”
A question for the future Bock is also interested in understanding the use that these steatoitites may be having in the U.S. “How are we going to account for the fact