News from the world of science
The lithium deposit in the ancient caldera of the Yellowstone volcano was formed as a result of repeated magmatic activation
Geologists from the USA and New Zealand have described a previously unknown process of natural lithium enrichment of volcanogenic sedimentary strata in one of the ancient calderas of the Yellowstone volcano. According to the authors, the lithium deposit on the border of Nevada and Oregon is not similar in type to all the others and may be the largest on Earth.
Lithium is called the most important metal of our time, the availability of which critically affects the production of lithium-ion batteries of all types (including batteries for electric vehicles and large-scale network energy storage), electronic equipment, catalysts, high-tech ultralight alloys, special glasses and optical crystals. In recent years, due to a sharp increase in lithium consumption, demand for it constantly exceeds supply, prices are rising, and there is a shortage of raw materials on the world market. In this regard, geologists are faced with the task of finding new deposits.
Traditional sources of lithium are evaporite brines (brine) of salt lakes (65-75% of world production) and indigenous ores — rare-metal granite pegmatites and greysens (about 23%). The content of lithium oxide Li2O in the indigenous deposits is 1.3–3.0% or more, in lake brine — 0.01–0.5%.
A separate group consists of deposits of volcanogenic-sedimentary type. So far, their share in world production is small, but the reserves contained in them are huge. The largest of them is the Tucker Pass in the USA. Geologically, it is associated with the ancient McDermitt caldera, located on the border of Oregon and Nevada