Jadarite Is The Real-World Version Of Kryptonite

As comic book fans know, kryptonite is a substance created from the remains of Krypton, Superman's home planet. The usually green, crystalline mineral is known for its ability to thwart Superman's powers. The science behind the substance has changed over the years—it's been both an element on the periodic table and a compound made up of other elements—but in the 2006 film Superman Returns, fans finally caught a glimpse of its scientific name: sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with fluorine.

Coincidentally, this was almost exactly the same chemical composition as a real-world mineral discovered only a year later. A mining group in Jadar, Serbia came upon a rock they couldn't identify and sent it to mineral expert Chris Stanley at the Natural History Museum in London. Stanley analyzed the sample to determine the elements it was made of, then plugged that atomic recipe into Google to find out if anyone had discovered the unusual mineral before. Sure enough, the first result was the Wikipedia page for kryptonite. The two substances do have their differences, however. The real-world mineral, called jadarite after the location of its discovery, doesn't contain fluorine. It's white and powdery, not green and crystalline. There's also no evidence that it has the ability to take down otherwise invincible superheroes—yet. Learn more about this mysterious mineral in the videos below.

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Real-Life Kryptonite Discovered

Hear about the discovery of jadarite.

The History Of Superman

Delve into the superhero's origins.

An Introduction To Minerals

Get a primer on what makes minerals what they are.

Written by Ashley Hamer October 26, 2016

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