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The Mineralogy of Lanthanum

General Properties
Atomic Number:57
Standard atomic weight (Ar):138.90547(7)
Electron configuration:[Xe] 5d1 6s2
1.5 grams pure lanthanum
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):1.1
Atomic Radius:169 pm
Ionic Radius:103.2 pm (+3)
1st Ionization energy:538 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-48 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:2,3
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:1193 K
Boiling Point:3737 K
Density:6.15 g/cm3
Main isotopes of Lanthanum
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
139La99.910%-Spontaneous fission ?
Main ions of Lanthanum
NameIonExample minerals
lanthanum(III)La3+Monazite-(La), Rhabdophane-(La)
Other Information
Year Discovered:1838
Discovered By:
Carl Gustaf Mosander
Named For:From Greek: lanthanein - "to lie (hidden)"
CPK color coding:#70D4FF
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds and Mineral Names
Sulfideslanthanum sulphideLaS+2
dilanthanum trisulphideLa2S3+3
Selenideslanthanum selenideLaSe+2
Tellurideslanthanum tellurideLaTe+2
Hydrideslanthanum dihydrideLaH2+2
lanthanum trihydrideLaH3+3
Fluorideslanthanum trifluorideLaF3+3Fluocerite-(La)
Chlorideslanthanum trichloride trihydrateLaCl3 · 3H2O+3
lanthanum trichlorideLaCl3+3
Bromideslanthanum tribromideLaBr3+3
Iodideslanthanum triiodideLaI3+3
Oxidesdilanthanum trioxideLa2O3+3
Carbonateslanthanum carbonateLa2(CO3)3+3
lanthanum carbonate octahydrateLa2(CO3)3 · 8H2O+3Lanthanite-(La)
basic lanthanum carbonateLaCO3OH+3, Kozoite-(La)
Phosphateslanthanum phosphateLaPO4+3Monazite-(La)
lanthanum phosphate monohydrateLaPO4 · H2O+3Rhabdophane-(La)
Vanadateslanthanum vanadateLaVO4+3Wakefieldite-(La)
Mineral Diversity of Lanthanum
3. Halides2 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 1 valid mineral species
5. Carbonates 8 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates8 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 13 valid mineral species
Total:32 valid species containing essential Lanthanum
Geochemistry of Lanthanum
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
La3+ was one of the ions least depleted from the mantle in the formation of the crust.
La3+ is enriched in Ca-Al-rich inclusions in meteorites relative to the composition of the solar system.
La3+ is concentrated in residual soils and sediments (less certainty.)
Elemental Abundance for Lanthanum
Crust (CRC Handbook)3.9 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)5.0 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)3.5 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.6000 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)2.9000 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Weaver)2.8000 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)3.0000 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)3.200 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)3.4 x 10-12mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)3.4 x 10-12mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)5.0 x 10-7atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)4.4 x 10-7atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)4.46 x 10-7 (2.0%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Lanthanum in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Lanthanum and the other elements listed based on the official IMA formula. Note that unlike other sections on this page this includes non-essential elements.

The first data column contains the total number of minerals listed with Lanthanum and the element listed for that row.

The second data column lists this number as a percentage of all minerals listed with Lanthanum.

The final data column compares this percentage against the percentage of all minerals that contain the element listed in each row.

Click on a heading to sort.
ElementValid Minerals listed with element and Lanthanum% of La mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen90 minerals with La and O97.83%28.39% higher
Cerium69 minerals with La and Ce75.00%2,176.12% higher
Hydrogen48 minerals with La and H52.17%2.78% lower
Silicon36 minerals with La and Si39.13%41.30% higher
Calcium35 minerals with La and Ca38.04%54.99% higher
Neodymium30 minerals with La and Nd32.61%3,287.54% higher
Carbon30 minerals with La and C32.61%341.48% higher
Iron26 minerals with La and Fe28.26%24.12% higher
Aluminium21 minerals with La and Al22.83%15.24% higher
Fluorine21 minerals with La and F22.83%174.62% higher
Sodium20 minerals with La and Na21.74%15.13% higher
Titanium13 minerals with La and Ti14.13%105.20% higher
Phosphorus12 minerals with La and P13.04%18.42% higher
Manganese12 minerals with La and Mn13.04%13.10% higher
Magnesium11 minerals with La and Mg11.96%12.95% lower
Strontium10 minerals with La and Sr10.87%286.30% higher
Thorium9 minerals with La and Th9.78%1,000.95% higher
Yttrium7 minerals with La and Y7.61%191.50% higher
Boron7 minerals with La and B7.61%50.01% higher
Niobium6 minerals with La and Nb6.52%93.57% higher
Arsenic6 minerals with La and As6.52%42.62% lower
Barium4 minerals with La and Ba4.35%6.05% lower
Zirconium4 minerals with La and Zr4.35%80.67% higher
Copper3 minerals with La and Cu3.26%73.90% lower
Uranium3 minerals with La and U3.26%31.72% lower
Sulfur3 minerals with La and S3.26%83.27% lower
Beryllium2 minerals with La and Be2.17%2.14% lower
Zinc2 minerals with La and Zn2.17%59.22% lower
Praseodymium2 minerals with La and Pr2.17%5,771.74% higher
Vanadium2 minerals with La and V2.17%47.34% lower
Lead2 minerals with La and Pb2.17%77.24% lower
Chromium1 mineral with La and Cr1.09%34.03% lower
Potassium1 mineral with La and K1.09%88.75% lower
Chlorine1 mineral with La and Cl1.09%85.54% lower
Samarium1 mineral with La and Sm1.09%878.62% higher
Tungsten1 mineral with La and W1.09%43.21% higher
Lithium1 mineral with La and Li1.09%51.47% lower
Periodic Table
1H 2He
3Li 4Be 5B 6C 7N 8O 9F 10Ne
11Na 12Mg 13Al 14Si 15P 16S 17Cl 18Ar
19K 20Ca 21Sc 22Ti 23V 24Cr 25Mn 26Fe 27Co 28Ni 29Cu 30Zn 31Ga 32Ge 33As 34Se 35Br 36Kr
37Rb 38Sr 39Y 40Zr 41Nb 42Mo 43Tc 44Ru 45Rh 46Pd 47Ag 48Cd 49In 50Sn 51Sb 52Te 53I 54Xe
55Cs 56Ba 57La 72Hf 73Ta 74W 75Re 76Os 77Ir 78Pt 79Au 80Hg 81Tl 82Pb 83Bi 84Po 85At 86Rn
87Fr 88Ra 89Ac 104Rd 105Db 106Sg 107Bh 108Hs 109Mt 110Ds 111Rg 112Cn 113Nh 114Fl 115Mc 116Lv 117Ts 118Og
58Ce 59Pr 60Nd 61Pm 62Sm 63Eu 64Gd 65Tb 66Dy 67Ho 68Er 69Tm 70Yb 71Lu
90Th 91Pa 92U 93Np 94Pu 95Am 96Cm 97Bk 98Cf 99Es 100Fm 101Md 102No 103Lr
Default Categories CPK Electronegativity Atomic Radius Lowest Oxidation Highest Oxidation Crustal Abundance Goldschmidt Mineral Species Minerals with La Relative Frequency
Barium << Lanthanum >> Cerium

Most widespread minerals containing Lanthanum
This list of minerals containing Lanthanum is built from the locality database. This is based on the number of localities entered for mineral species and is therefore slanted towards minerals interesting to collectors with less coverage of common rock-forming-minerals so it does not give an undistorted distribution of Lanthanum mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
Agardite-(La)LaCu6(AsO4)3(OH)6 · 3H2OHexagonal25
Ancylite-(La)LaSr(CO3)2(OH) · H2OOrthorhombic15
Lanthanite-(La)(La,Ce)2(CO3)3 · 8H2OOrthorhombic12
Rhabdophane-(La)(La,Ce)(PO4) · H2OHexagonal11

Localities with greatest number of different Lanthanum mineral species
map should go here
Mochalin Log (Motchaline-log), Kyshtym (Kychtym; Kishtim), Chelyabinsk Oblast', Southern Urals, Urals Region, Russia4 La minerals
2Bastnäs Mines, Riddarhyttan, Skinnskatteberg, Västmanland, Sweden4 La minerals
3Clara Mine, Rankach valley, Oberwolfach, Wolfach, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany4 La minerals
4Aris Quarries (Ariskop Quarry; Railway Quarry), Aris, Windhoek District, Khomas Region, Namibia4 La minerals
Unnamed manganese deposit, Shobu, Ise City, Mie Prefecture, Kinki region, Honshu Island, Japan4 La minerals
6Pilanesberg Alkaline Complex, Western Bushveld Complex, Bojanala Platinum District, North West Province, South Africa3 La minerals
7In den Dellen quarries, Niedermendig, Mendig, Laach lake volcanic complex, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany3 La minerals
8North Bohemian Uranium District, Liberec Region, Bohemia (Böhmen; Boehmen), Czech Republic3 La minerals

Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to Thank you.

Constants and physical property data from:

David R. Lide (ed.), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 85th Edition. CRC Press. Boca Raton, Florida (2005).
Kaye and Laby Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants (2005). Section 3.1.3, Abundances of the elements
A. Earnshaw, N. Greenwood, Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, (1997)
Thomas J. Ahrens (ed.), Global Earth Physics : A Handbook of Physical Constants, American Geophysical Union (1995)
L.B. Railsback, An Earth Scientist's Periodic Table of the Elements and Their Ions : Geology 31:9 p737-740 (2003)
Emsley, J. Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements. New York: Oxford University Press (2001)
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