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Scientists turn to big data in hunt for minerals, oil and gas

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Scientists searching for everything from oil and gas to copper and gold are adopting techniques used by companies such as Netflix or Amazon to sift through vast amounts of data, a study showed on Tuesday.

The method has already helped to discover 10 carbon-bearing minerals and could be widely applied to exploration, they wrote in the journal American Mineralogist. “Big data points to new minerals, new deposits,” they wrote of the findings.

The technique goes beyond traditional geology by amassing data about how and where minerals have formed, for instance by the cooling of lava after volcanic eruptions. The data can then be used to help find other deposits.

“Minerals occur on Earth in clusters,” said Robert Hazen, executive director of the Deep Carbon Observatory at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington and an author of the study.

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WRITTEN BY ALISTER DOYLE FOR RHEUTERS.COM

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