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The Mineralogy of Niobium

General Properties
Atomic Number:41
Standard atomic weight (Ar):92.90638(2)
Electron configuration:[Kr] 4d4 5s1
Niobium crystals
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):1.6
Atomic Radius:198 pm
Ionic Radius:72 pm (+3)
1st Ionization energy:652 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-86 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-1,2,3,4,5
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:2750 K
Boiling Point:5017 K
Density:8.57 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:transition metal
Main isotopes of Niobium
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
91mNbsynthetic60.86dIsomeric transition91Nb
93Nb100%-Spontaneous fission ?
93mNbsynthetic16.13yIsomeric transition93Nb
95mNbsynthetic3.61dIsomeric transition95Nb
Other Information
Year Discovered:1801
Discovered By:
Charles Hatchett
Recognised as an element:1844
Recognised By:
Heinrich Rose
Year Isolated:1864
Isolated By:
Christian Wilhelm Blomstrand
Named For:
Niobe in Greek mythology
CPK color coding:#73C2C9
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's
Simple Compounds
Nitridesniobium nitrideNbN+3
Sulfidesniobium disulphideNbS2+4
Selenidesniobium diselenideNbSe2+4
Telluridesniobium ditellurideNbTe2+4
Fluoridesniobium trifluorideNbF3+3
niobium tetrafluorideNbF4+4
niobium pentafluoride tetramer[NbF5]4+5
Chloridesniobium trichlorideNbCl3+3
niobium tetrachlorideNbCl4+4
niobium pentachlorideNbCl5+5
Bromidesniobium tetrabromideNbBr4+4
niobium pentabromideNbBr5+5
Iodidesniobium triiodideNbI3+3
niobium tetraiodideNbI4+4
niobium pentaiodideNbI5+5
Oxidesniobium oxideNbO+4
niobium dioxideNbO2+4
diniobium pentaoxideNb2O5+5
Mineral Diversity of Niobium
1. Elements 1 valid mineral species
2. Sulfides And Sulfosalts 1 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 35 valid mineral species
6. Borates1 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 2 valid mineral species
8. Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates2 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 35 valid mineral species
Total:77 valid species containing essential Niobium
Geochemistry of Niobium
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
Nb5+ is commonly concentrated in residual soils and sediments.
Elemental Abundance for Niobium
Crust (CRC Handbook)2.0 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)2.0 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)2.0 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.1000 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Weaver)1.3000 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)2.5000 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Shaw)2.6000 x 10-5mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)1 x 10-11mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)1.5 x 10-11mass per volume fraction, kg/L
The Sun (Kaye & Laby)7.0 x 10-7atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)7.0 x 10-7atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)6.98 x 10-7 (1.4%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Niobium in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Niobium 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 Niobium and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Niobium% of Nb mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen497 minerals with Nb and O98.61%22.00% higher
Hydrogen311 minerals with Nb and H61.71%9.47% higher
Titanium254 minerals with Nb and Ti50.40%628.66% higher
Silicon238 minerals with Nb and Si47.22%65.58% higher
Sodium230 minerals with Nb and Na45.63%136.19% higher
Calcium205 minerals with Nb and Ca40.67%64.93% higher
Iron140 minerals with Nb and Fe27.78%25.57% higher
Manganese117 minerals with Nb and Mn23.21%107.96% higher
Potassium109 minerals with Nb and K21.63%128.25% higher
Fluorine98 minerals with Nb and F19.44%147.32% higher
Tantalum96 minerals with Nb and Ta19.05%1,480.37% higher
Barium65 minerals with Nb and Ba12.90%179.33% higher
Cerium61 minerals with Nb and Ce12.10%307.95% higher
Zirconium61 minerals with Nb and Zr12.10%422.18% higher
Yttrium57 minerals with Nb and Y11.31%369.17% higher
Uranium44 minerals with Nb and U8.73%66.37% higher
Strontium36 minerals with Nb and Sr7.14%177.13% higher
Thorium30 minerals with Nb and Th5.95%723.11% higher
Chlorine28 minerals with Nb and Cl5.56%25.65% lower
Aluminium26 minerals with Nb and Al5.16%74.57% lower
Magnesium26 minerals with Nb and Mg5.16%61.25% lower
Zinc19 minerals with Nb and Zn3.77%28.41% lower
Lead18 minerals with Nb and Pb3.57%65.36% lower
Phosphorus18 minerals with Nb and P3.57%69.81% lower
Boron16 minerals with Nb and B3.17%39.50% lower
Carbon14 minerals with Nb and C2.78%64.58% lower
Neodymium14 minerals with Nb and Nd2.78%368.14% higher
Lanthanum12 minerals with Nb and La2.38%107.10% higher
Sulfur12 minerals with Nb and S2.38%88.72% lower
Tungsten12 minerals with Nb and W2.38%185.34% higher
Molybdenum9 minerals with Nb and Mo1.79%41.62% higher
Antimony7 minerals with Nb and Sb1.39%72.05% lower
Tin5 minerals with Nb and Sn0.99%44.84% lower
Bismuth4 minerals with Nb and Bi0.79%81.55% lower
Ytterbium3 minerals with Nb and Yb0.60%702.53% higher
Caesium3 minerals with Nb and Cs0.60%28.40% higher
Arsenic3 minerals with Nb and As0.60%95.18% lower
Chromium3 minerals with Nb and Cr0.60%66.91% 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 Nb Relative Frequency
Zirconium << Niobium >> Molybdenum

Most widespread minerals containing Niobium
This list of minerals containing Niobium 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 Niobium mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
Pyrochlore GroupA2Nb2(O,OH)6Z467

Localities with greatest number of different Niobium mineral species
map should go here
2Poudrette quarry (De-Mix quarry; Demix quarry; Uni-Mix quarry; Carrière Mont Saint-Hilaire; MSH), Mont Saint-Hilaire, La Vallée-du-Richelieu RCM, Montérégie, Québec, Canada19 Nb minerals
4In den Dellen quarries, Niedermendig, Mendig, Laach lake volcanic complex, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany10 Nb minerals
Ilímaussaq complex, Narsaq, Kujalleq, Greenland10 Nb minerals
7Karnasurt Mt, Lovozero Massif, Murmanskaya Oblast', Northern Region, Russia9 Nb minerals
8Bayan Obo deposit (Bayun-Obo deposit; Baiyunebo deposit), Bayan Obo, Bayan Obo Mining District, Baotou League (Baotou Prefecture), Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China8 Nb minerals

Important ores of Niobium
NameFormulaCrystal System
Columbite-(Fe)-Columbite-(Mn) SeriesOrthorhombic

Minor ores of Niobium
NameFormulaCrystal System

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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