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Thorite

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Formula:
(Th,U)SiO
 
4
System:TetragonalColour:Yellow, yellow-brown, ...
Hardness:
Member of:Zircon Group
Name:Named in 1829 by Jöns Jakob Berzelius as it was the mineral in which he found the new element thorium.
Dimorph of:Huttonite


Zircon Group. The thorium analogue of Zircon and Hafnon.

This is a rare mineral that is commonly hydrated, and is radioactive.

Classification of Thorite

IMA status:Valid - first described prior to 1959 (pre-IMA) - "Grandfathered"
Strunz 8th edition ID:8/A.09-30
Nickel-Strunz 10th (pending) edition ID:9.AD.30

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
A : Nesosilicates
D : Nesosilicates without additional anions; cations in [6] and/or greater coordination
Dana 8th edition ID:51.5.2.3

51 : NESOSILICATES Insular SiO4 Groups Only
5 : Insular SiO4 Groups Only with cations in >[6] coordination
Hey's CIM Ref.:14.11.1

14 : Silicates not Containing Aluminum
11 : Silicates of Th and Hg
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Type Occurrence of Thorite

Type Locality:The Thorite Hole, Løvøya (Løvø; Lövö; Lövöe), Langesundsfjorden, Porsgrunn, Telemark, Norway
Year of Discovery:1829

Physical Properties of Thorite

Lustre:Resinous, Greasy, Dull
Diaphaneity (Transparency):Opaque
Colour:Yellow, yellow-brown, red-brown, green, orange to black
Hardness (Mohs):

Crystallography of Thorite

Crystal System:Tetragonal
Cell Parameters:a = 7.13Å, c = 6.32Å
Ratio:a:c = 1 : 0.886
Unit Cell Volume:V 321.29 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)

Optical Data of Thorite

Type:Uniaxial (-)
RI values: nω = 1.790 - 1.840 nε = 1.780 - 1.820
Maximum Birefringence:δ = 0.010 - 0.020

Chart shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness) and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:Very High

Chemical Properties of Thorite

Formula:
(Th,U)SiO
 
4
Simplified for copy/paste:(Th,U)SiO4
Essential elements:O, Si, Th
All elements listed in formula:O, Si, Th, U
Common Impurities:Al,Fe,Pb,Ca,P,Ti,REE,Y,Mg,H2O

Relationship of Thorite to other Species

Member of:Zircon Group
Other Members of Group:

- +
Hafnon
HfSiO
 
4
Stetindite
Ce
4+
 
SiO
 
4
Zircon
ZrSiO
 
4
Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping):

- +
9.AD.05Larnite
Ca
 
2
SiO
 
4
9.AD.10Calcio-olivine
Ca
 
2
SiO
 
4
9.AD.15Merwinite
Ca
 
3
Mg(SiO
 
4
)
 
2
9.AD.20Bredigite
Ca
 
7
Mg(SiO
 
4
)
 
4
9.AD.25Andradite
Ca
 
3
Fe
3+
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Almandine
Fe
2+
3
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Calderite
(Mn
2+
 
,Ca)
 
3
(Fe
3+
 
,Al)
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Goldmanite
Ca
 
3
V
3+
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Grossular
Ca
 
3
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Henritermierite
Ca
 
3
(Mn
3+
 
,Al)
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH)
 
4
9.AD.25Hibschite
Ca
 
3
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3-x
(OH)
 
4x
9.AD.25Hydroandradite
Ca
 
3
Fe
3+
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3-x
(OH)
 
4x
9.AD.25Katoite
Ca
 
3
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3-x
(OH)
 
4x
9.AD.25Kimzeyite
Ca
 
3
(Zr,Ti)
 
2
((Si,Al,Fe
3+
 
)O
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Knorringite
Mg
 
3
Cr
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Majorite
Mg
 
3
(Fe
2+
 
,Si,Al)
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Morimotoite
Ca
 
3
(Ti,Fe
2+
 
,Fe
3+
 
)
 
2
((Si,Fe
3+
 
)O
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Pyrope
Mg
 
3
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Schorlomite
Ca
 
3
(Ti,Fe
3+
 
)
 
2
((Si,Fe
3+
 
)O
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Spessartine
Mn
2+
3
Al
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Uvarovite
Ca
 
3
Cr
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Wadalite
(Ca,Mg)
 
6
(Al,Fe
3+
 
)
 
4
((Si,Al)O
 
4
)
 
3
O
 
4
Cl
 
3
9.AD.25Holtstamite
Ca
 
3
(Al,Mn
3+
 
)
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
2
(OH)
 
4
9.AD.25Kerimasite
Ca
 
3
Zr
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)(Fe
3+
 
O
 
4
)
 
2
9.AD.25Toturite
Ca
 
3
Sn
 
2
(SiO
 
4
)(Fe
3+
 
O
 
4
)
 
2
9.AD.25Momoiite
(Mn
2+
 
,Ca)
 
3
V
3+
2
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.25Eltyubyuite
Ca
 
12
Fe
3+
10
Si
 
4
O
 
32
Cl
 
6
9.AD.25Hutcheonite
Ca
 
3
Ti
 
2
(SiAl
 
2
)O
 
12
9.AD.30Coffinite
(U
4+
 
,Th)(SiO
 
4
)
 
1-x
(OH)
 
4x
9.AD.30Hafnon
HfSiO
 
4
9.AD.30Zircon
ZrSiO
 
4
9.AD.30Stetindite
Ce
4+
 
SiO
 
4
9.AD.35Huttonite
ThSiO
 
4
9.AD.35Tombarthite-(Y)
Y
 
4
(Si,H
 
4
)
 
4
O
 
12-x
(OH)
 
4+2x
9.AD.40Eulytine
Bi
 
4
(SiO
 
4
)
 
3
9.AD.45Reidite
ZrSiO
 
4
Related Minerals - Hey's Index Grouping:

- +
14.11.2Huttonite
ThSiO
 
4
14.11.3Umbozerite
Na
 
3
Sr
 
4
Th[Si(O,OH)
 
3-4
]
 
8
14.11.4Thornasite
(Na,K)
 
12
Th
 
3
[Si
 
8
O
 
19
]
 
4
· 18H
 
2
O
14.11.5Yttrialite-(Y)
(Y,Th)
 
2
Si
 
2
O
 
7
14.11.6Edgarbaileyite
(Hg-Hg)
 
3
Si
 
2
O
 
7

Other Names for Thorite

Synonyms:
EukrasiteTorite
Other Languages:
Dutch:Thoriet
German:Eukrasit
Thorit
Torit
Italian:Thorite
Lithuanian:Toritas
Russian:Торит
Simplified Chinese:钍石
Spanish:Thorita
Torita
Varieties:
AuerliteCalciothoriteFerrithoriteGel-ThoriteHydroauerlite
MozambikiteOrangiteUranohydrothoriteUranothoriteYanshainshynite

Other Information

Special Storage/
Display Requirements from:
Blackburn Circle locality,..., Essex Co., Massachusetts, USAstrongly radioactive
Health Warning:Contains thorium and uranium - always wash hands after handling. Avoid inhaling dust when handling or breaking. Never lick or ingest. Avoid prolonged exposure in proximity of the body. Store away from inhabited areas.

References for Thorite

Reference List:

- +
Berzelius, J.J. (1829): Über den Thorit ein neues Mineral und eine darin enthaltene neue Erde, die Thorerde. Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 91: 633-634

Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps-Akademiens Handlingar (1829), 1-30.

Esmark, [H.] M.T.. (1836): Thoriten, opdagen og beskreven af M.Thr. Esmark. Magazin for Naturvidenskaberne, 12, 77-78.

Acta Crystallographica: B34: 1074-1079.

Canadian Mineralogist (1989): 27: 643.

Internet Links for Thorite

Search Engines:
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  • External Links:
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  • Look for Thorite on Wikipedia
  • Look for Thorite on Mineralien Atlas
  • Raman and XRD data at RRUFF project
  • American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database
  • Thorite details from Handbook of Mineralogy (PDF)
  • Mineral Dealers:
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  • Fine Minerals from Weinrich Minerals, Inc.
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  • Localities for Thorite

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