Sulfur Surprises in Deep Geological Fluids

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Science  25 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6020, pp. 1018-1019
DOI: 10.1126/science.1202468

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Prized for their deep-blue color, the mineral lazurite and the rock it dominates, lapis lazuli, have been quarried for millennia in a few localities such as the Sar-e-Sang mines in Badakhshan province, Afghanistan. The ultramarine stones have contributed to jewelry boxes and pigment bases from before King Tut's reign to modern times. Their remarkable coloration originates from charge transfer between groups of the trisulfur anion, S3 (1, 2). It is so striking a hue that French postmodernist Yves Klein famously created his own version of this pigment to coat his friends and his sculptures in blue, foreshadowing today's Blue Man Group. On page 1052, Pokrovski and Dubrovinsky (3) provide new evidence that S3 may be far more common than previously realized.