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The Mineralogy of Tantalum

General Properties
Symbol:Ta
Atomic Number:73
Standard atomic weight (Ar):180.94788(2)
Electron configuration:[Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2
Photos
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A high purity (99.999 %) tantalum single crystal
>
Atomic Properties
Electronegativity (Pauling scale):1.5
Atomic Radius:200 pm
Ionic Radius:72 pm (+3)
1st Ionization energy:761 kJ/mol
1st Electron affinity:-31 kJ/mol
Oxidation States:-1,2,3,4,5
Physical Properties
Standard State:solid
Bonding Type:metallic
Melting Point:3290 K
Boiling Point:5731 K
Density:16.65 g/cm3
Metal/Non-Metal:transition metal
Main isotopes of Tantalum
Isotope% in NatureHalf LifeDecay typeDecay product
177Tasynthetic56.56hε177Hf
178Tasynthetic2.36hε178Hf
179Tasynthetic1.82yε179Hf
180Tasynthetic8.125hε180Hf
β−180W
180mTa0.012%>2.0x1016yε ?180Hf
Isomeric transition ?180Ta
α ?176Lu
181Ta99.988%-α ?177Lu
182Tasynthetic114.43dβ−182W
183Tasynthetic5.1dβ−183W
Main ions of Tantalum
NameIonExample minerals
tantalum(III)Ta3+
tantalum(IV)Ta4+
tantalum(V)Ta5+
tantalate[Ta2O6]2+Tantalite-(Fe)
Other Information
Year Discovered:1802
Discovered By:
Anders Gustaf Ekeberg
Recognised as an element:1844
Recognised By:
Heinrich Rose
Named For:
Tantalus in Greek mythology
CPK color coding:#4DA6FF
External Links:WikipediaWebElementsLos Alamos National LaboratoryTheodore Gray's PeriodicTable.com
Simple Compounds
Nitridestantalum nitrideTaN+3
Sulfidestantalum disulphideTaS2+4
Selenidestantalum diselenideTaSe2+4
Telluridestantalum ditellurideTaTe2+4
Hydridesditantalum hydrideTa2H
Fluoridestantalum trifluorideTaF3+3
tantalum pentafluoride[TaF5]4+5
Chloridestantalum trichlorideTaCl3+3
tantalum tetrachlorideTaCl4+4
tantalum pentachlorideTaCl5+5
Bromidestantalum tribromideTaBr3+3
tantalum tetrabromideTaBr4+4
ditantalum decabromideTaBr5+5
Iodidestantalum tetraiodideTaI4+4
tantalum pentaiodideTaI5+5
Oxidestantalum oxideTaO+2
tantalum dioxideTaO2+4
ditantalum pentoxideTa2O5+5
Mineral Diversity of Tantalum
1. Elements 2 valid mineral species
4. Oxides 35 valid mineral species
6. Borates1 valid mineral species
7. Sulfates 2 valid mineral species
9. Silicates 2 valid mineral species
Total:42 valid species containing essential Tantalum
Geochemistry of Tantalum
Goldschmidt classification:Lithophile
Ta5+ is commonly concentrated in residual soils and sediments.
Elemental Abundance for Tantalum
Crust (CRC Handbook)2.0 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Kaye & Laby)2.4 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Greenwood)1.7 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)1.000 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Crust (Ahrens/Wänke)2.203 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Upper Crust (Ahrens/Taylor)2.200 x 10-6mass fraction, kg/kg
Sea Water (CRC Handbook)2 x 10-12mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Sea Water (Kaye & Laby)< 2.5 x 10-12mass per volume fraction, kg/L
Solar System (Kaye & Laby)3.8 x 10-8atom mole fraction relative to Si=1
Solar System (Ahrens)2.07 x 10-8 (1.8%)atom mole fraction relative to Si=1 (% uncertainty)
Element association of Tantalum in the Mineral World
This table compares the known valid mineral species listed listed with Tantalum 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 Tantalum and the element listed for that row.

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

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 Tantalum% of Ta mineralsRelative to % in all minerals
Oxygen196 minerals with Ta and O96.55%20.74% higher
Niobium96 minerals with Ta and Nb47.29%1,501.13% higher
Iron51 minerals with Ta and Fe25.12%14.79% higher
Calcium44 minerals with Ta and Ca21.67%11.17% lower
Hydrogen43 minerals with Ta and H21.18%62.02% lower
Titanium40 minerals with Ta and Ti19.70%187.96% higher
Yttrium37 minerals with Ta and Y18.23%664.26% higher
Manganese32 minerals with Ta and Mn15.76%42.74% higher
Sodium30 minerals with Ta and Na14.78%22.69% lower
Uranium20 minerals with Ta and U9.85%89.77% higher
Aluminium18 minerals with Ta and Al8.87%55.82% lower
Tin16 minerals with Ta and Sn7.88%342.92% higher
Potassium15 minerals with Ta and K7.39%21.18% lower
Cerium14 minerals with Ta and Ce6.90%134.96% higher
Lead13 minerals with Ta and Pb6.40%37.22% lower
Fluorine12 minerals with Ta and F5.91%24.00% lower
Antimony11 minerals with Ta and Sb5.42%10.21% higher
Thorium8 minerals with Ta and Th3.94%450.81% higher
Bismuth7 minerals with Ta and Bi3.45%18.98% lower
Carbon7 minerals with Ta and C3.45%55.56% lower
Boron7 minerals with Ta and B3.45%33.58% lower
Magnesium6 minerals with Ta and Mg2.96%77.56% lower
Phosphorus6 minerals with Ta and P2.96%74.75% lower
Lithium6 minerals with Ta and Li2.96%42.58% higher
Silicon6 minerals with Ta and Si2.96%89.52% lower
Tungsten4 minerals with Ta and W1.97%138.69% higher
Caesium3 minerals with Ta and Cs1.48%222.23% higher
Arsenic3 minerals with Ta and As1.48%87.90% lower
Zirconium3 minerals with Ta and Zr1.48%35.55% lower
Scandium3 minerals with Ta and Sc1.48%323.98% higher
Ytterbium1 mineral with Ta and Yb0.49%571.31% higher
Barium1 mineral with Ta and Ba0.49%89.22% lower
Neodymium1 mineral with Ta and Nd0.49%16.09% 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 Ta Relative Frequency
Hafnium << Tantalum >> Tungsten


Most widespread minerals containing Tantalum
This list of minerals containing Tantalum is built from the mindat.org 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 Tantalum mineral species. It is more useful when comparing rare species rather than common species.
NameFormulaCrystal SystemMindat Localities
Tantalite-(Mn)MnTa2O6Orthorhombic200
Ixiolite(Ta,Nb,Sn,Fe,Mn)4O8Orthorhombic127
Tantalite-(Fe)FeTa2O6Orthorhombic102
Photos

Localities with greatest number of different Tantalum mineral species
map should go here
2Vasin-Myl'k Mt, Voron'i Tundry, Murmanskaya Oblast', Northern Region, Russia11 Ta minerals
4Manono Mine, Katanga (Shaba), Democratic Republic of the Congo10 Ta minerals
6Ognevka Ta Deposit, Ulan district, East Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan9 Ta minerals
7Tanco Mine (Bernic Lake Mine), Bernic Lake, Lac-du-Bonnet area, Manitoba, Canada9 Ta minerals
8Ungursai Ta Deposit, Irtysh River, Kalba Range, East Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan8 Ta minerals


Important ores of Tantalum
NameFormulaCrystal System
Tantalite(Mn,Fe)(Ta,Nb)2O6
Tantalite-(Fe)FeTa2O6Orthorhombic
Tantalite-(Mn)MnTa2O6Orthorhombic
Photos


Minor ores of Tantalum
NameFormulaCrystal System
Microlite GroupA2-mTa2X6-wZ-nIsometric
WodginiteMn2+Sn4+Ta2O8Monoclinic
Euxenite-(Y)(Y,Ca,Ce,U,Th)(Nb,Ta,Ti)2O6Orthorhombic
Polycrase-(Y)Y(Ti,Nb)2(O,OH)6Orthorhombic
Photos


Spotted a mistake/omission? - These pages are a work in progress, so please send all comments/corrections to jolyon@mindat.org. 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)
Mineral and/or Locality  
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