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Fake News Made Viral, Yet Again

Fiction lovers, who are fond of American comic books published by Marvel Comics, are well aware of Vibranium, a fictional metal with extraordinary abilities to absorb, store and release large amounts of kinetic energy. This fictional metal is associated with Black Panther, who wears a suit of vibranium, and Captain America, who bears a vibranium (a steel alloy shield). So far, it has been thought that this metal does not actually exist. Reports suggest that this metal has recently been found in Democratic Republic of the Congo. A few videos about the discovery of vibranium have gone viral on social media.

Those videos, shared by a Twitter handle called Africa Archives on January 21, 2023, showed two men holding two pieces of this metal. As shown in one video, they produced an electric spark by touching one with the other (as portrayed in Marvel Comics). Another video showed a small bulb being lit by touching two pieces of vibranium, without any electrical connection. As expected, these videos have triggered a sensation worldwide.

The Twitter handle has claimed that a piece of vibranium, weighing one gram, is capable of lighting a bulb for more than 72 hours. It has also claimed that 1kg of this metal can supply electricity to a two-room house for at least two months.

However, several Congolese media reports have rejected such a claim, stating that these Vibranium stones do not generate electricity. According to an article published in the Nairobi News, this igneous metal is made from a mixture of Magnetite, a mineral and one of the main iron ores, and Quartz, the most common mineral. The report mentioned that the alloy of these two minerals tends to generate electric sparks. In other words, no vibranium was found in DR Congo.

The Nairobi News further reported that the real name of this metal is not Vibranium. However, it does exist and is found in Katanga Province of the Central African country. Several studies have been carried out on this stone, and it is claimed that the stone has the ability to retain energy. A section of researchers is of the opinion that certain levels of sound can cause electric currents to flow through these stones. After this potential discovery, the Congolese people are hopeful that these stones could become a new source of energy that could reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, media reports have admitted that the source of this power-generating stone is still unknown. DR Congo is a mineral-rich nation, as there are a number of mines of coltan, cobalt, copper, gold, tin, etc. in this country. Both Coltan and Cobalt are important components of electronic devices. One can find coltan in capacitors and transistors of smartphones and laptops, while cobalt is used to manufacture batteries, magnets and high-strength alloys.

Various scientific websites and magazines have claimed that vibranium does not exist, and that this material may never be discovered. In comics, vibranium is described as an energy absorbing, as well as storing, metal, with some super metallic abilities. However, it is not true, although this substance has a surprising similarity with vibranium. Like this material, the mining location of vibranium, as described in Marvel Comics, is also situated in Africa.

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