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September-October 2014

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Neutron Diffraction Analysis Verifies Existence of Some of the World's Largest Gold Crystals

In January of this year I returned to Los Alamos National Laboratory's (LANL) Lujan Neutron Scattering Center to continue work on the crystallinity of gold specimens from Venezuela. The results of previous work were reported in Rocks & Minerals by Rakovan et al. (2009). Colleagues Heinz Nakotte, New Mexico State University professor and instrument scientist for the single-crystal diffraction instrument, and Sven Vogel, instrument scientist for the high-pressure/preferred orientation (HIPPO) instrument, and I analyzed three of the world's finest gold crystals, including an extraordinary octahedron that weighs 217.78 grams and measures 4.44 × 4.27 × 2.06 cm.

Dr. John Rakovan, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor of mineralogy and geochemistry at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

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