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Ribbon Weed

Context: Scientists spotted the world's biggest plant along the southern coastlines of Australia.

Key Points: 

  • It covers about 200 sq km, which is more than three times the size of Manhattan Island and belongs to a species called 'Posidonia australis' and is commonly known as fibre-ball weed or ribbon weed. 
  • As per the scientists, this plant has sprung from a single seed, a merger of two different seagrass species about 4,500 years ago.

Rare Earth Elements (REEs): 

  • The rare earth elements (REE) are a set of seventeen metallic elements. These include the fifteen lanthanides on the periodic table plus scandium and yttrium. Rare earth elements are an essential part of many high-tech devices.
  • Unlike their name suggests, Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are not rare but found in relative abundance. In fact, they occur almost everywhere in the earth's crusts. 
  • However, unlike other minerals, they do not always occur in a concentrated area. This makes them harder and more expensive, often even uneconomical to mine. 
  • Currently, China controls more than 60 % of the Rare Earth Elements (REEs). India possesses significant reserves of REEs-much less than China but significantly more than Australia and the US, which are big producers.

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