New research determines supervolcanoes as source of lithium


Lithium can now be obtained from supervolcanoes, according to research conducted at Stanford University in the US.

As per the research findings, it is claimed that sediments preserved within ancient supervolcanoes could comprise large lithium-rich clay deposits.

Most of the lithium is used to make lithium-ion batteries that power electrical cars and electronic devices and comes from brine deposits in Australia and Chile.

Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences geological sciences professor and study co-author Gail Mahood said: “It’s important to identify lithium resources in the US so that our supply does not rely on single companies or countries in a way that makes us subject to economic or political manipulation.”

The development comes at a time when different sections are calling for a reduction of carbon footprint by switching from conventional diesel and petrol cars to electric and hybrid cars.

"It’s important to identify lithium resources in the US so that our supply does not rely on single companies or countries in a way that makes us subject to economic or political manipulation."

Swedish vehicle manufacturer Volvo Cars recently declared that it will only produce hybrids or battery-powered vehicles starting from 2019.

As part of the study, scientists examined samples from supervolcanoes located in Nevada, Oregon and other locations of the US, as well as Mexico.

In order to discover the silvery-white metal, researchers analysed tiny bits of magma trapped in crystals within the magma chamber.

Mahood added: “If you have a lot of magma erupting, it doesn’t have to have as much lithium in it to produce something that is worthy of economic interest as we previously thought.

“You don’t need extraordinarily high concentrations of lithium in the magma to form lithium deposits and reserves.”