If you are to tell the most successful companies of today, you mightn’t forget to name Amazon and Netflix. True! On Tuesday a study revealed that tactics these tech corporations adopt are surprisingly effective. Consequently, scientists search for everything from oil and gas to copper and gold are adopting techniques used by tech companies like Amazon, Netflix to sift through large amounts of data.
The method has already helped 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, Reuters reported.
“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.
“When you see minerals together, it’s very like the way that humans interact in social networks such as Facebook,” he said.
Hazen said the technique was also like Amazon, which recommends books based on a client’s previous orders, or by media streaming company Netflix, which proposes movies based on a customer’s past viewing habits.
“They are using vast amounts of data and make correlations that you could never make,” he said.
Lead author Shaunna Morrison, also at the Deep Carbon Observatory and the Carnegie Institution, said luck often played a big role for geologists searching for new deposits.
“We are looking at it in a much more systematic way,” she said of the project.
Among the 10 rare carbon-bearing minerals discovered by the project were abellaite and parisaite. The minerals, whose existence was predicted before they were found, have no known economic applications.