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Thorite

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Formula:
Th(SiO4)
Often contains U replacing Th.
Colour:
Yellow, yellow-brown, red-brown, green, orange to black
Lustre:
Resinous, Greasy, Dull
Hardness:
Crystal System:
Tetragonal
Member of:
Name:
Named in 1829 by Jöns Jakob Berzelius as it was the mineral in which he found the new element thorium.
Dimorph of:
Zircon Group. The thorium analogue of Zircon and Hafnon.

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


Classification of Thorite

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)
9.AD.30

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

51 : NESOSILICATES Insular SiO4 Groups Only
5 : Insular SiO4 Groups Only with cations in >[6] coordination
14.11.1

14 : Silicates not Containing Aluminum
11 : Silicates of Th and Hg

Physical Properties of Thorite

Resinous, Greasy, Dull
Transparency:
Opaque
Colour:
Yellow, yellow-brown, red-brown, green, orange to black
Hardness:
4½ on Mohs scale

Optical Data of Thorite

Type:
Uniaxial (-)
RI values:
nω = 1.790 - 1.840 nε = 1.780 - 1.820
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.010 - 0.020
Image 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(SiO4)

Often contains U replacing Th.
IMA Formula:
ThSiO4
Common Impurities:
Al,Fe,Pb,Ca,P,Ti,REE,Y,Mg,H2O

Crystallography of Thorite

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

Type Occurrence of Thorite

Synonyms of Thorite

Other Language Names for Thorite

Dutch:Thoriet
Italian:Thorite
Lithuanian:Toritas
Russian:Торит
Simplified Chinese:钍石

Varieties of Thorite

Calciothorite

A calcian thorite that was first described by Brögger (1887) from the islands of Låven and Arøy in the Langesundsfjord, Vestfold, Norway.

Ferrithorite

An iron(III)-rich variety of Thorite.
Originally reported from Aktyuz REE deposit, Kyrgyzstan.

Gel-Thorite

A hydrous Thorite

Hydroauerlite

A hydrous phosphatian Thorite

Mozambikite

An (OH)-rich Thorite.

Orangite

An orange variety of Thorite which Bergeman & Krantz (the famous mineral dealer) described as a new mineral form 'Brevig' (= syenite pegmatites from Langesundsfjorden, Larvik, Vestfold, Norway) in 1851 (see also Clark, 1993 - "Hey's Mineral Index").

Phosphothorite

A variety of thorite which contains P and other foreign elements (mainly REE, Ca, ...).

Uranoan thorite
Uranohydrothorite

Possibly a hydrous uranian Thorite

Uranothorite

A uranian variety of Thorite

Yanshainshynite

A P-, Ca-bearing and Fe(OH)-rich variety.

Relationship of Thorite to other Species

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
Coffinite(U4+,Th)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4x
HafnonHfSiO4
Stetindite-(Ce)Ce(SiO4)
ZirconZr(SiO4)

Common Associates

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
Zircon31 photos of Thorite associated with Zircon on mindat.org.
Diopside10 photos of Thorite associated with Diopside on mindat.org.
Brockite9 photos of Thorite associated with Brockite on mindat.org.
Uranothorite9 photos of Thorite associated with Uranothorite on mindat.org.
Microcline9 photos of Thorite associated with Microcline on mindat.org.
Thorogummite8 photos of Thorite associated with Thorogummite on mindat.org.
Allanite-(Ce)7 photos of Thorite associated with Allanite-(Ce) on mindat.org.
Quartz7 photos of Thorite associated with Quartz on mindat.org.
Eudialyte7 photos of Thorite associated with Eudialyte on mindat.org.
Aegirine7 photos of Thorite associated with Aegirine on mindat.org.

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz Grouping

9.AD.05LarniteCa2SiO4
9.AD.10Calcio-olivineCa2SiO4
9.AD.15MerwiniteCa3Mg(SiO4)2
9.AD.20BredigiteCa7Mg(SiO4)4
9.AD.25AndraditeCa3Fe3+2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25AlmandineFe2+3Al2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25Calderite(Mn2+,Ca)3(Fe3+,Al)2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25GoldmaniteCa3V3+2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25GrossularCa3Al2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25HenritermieriteCa3(Mn3+,Al)2(SiO4)2(OH)4
9.AD.25HibschiteCa3Al2(SiO4)3-x(OH)4x
9.AD.25HydroandraditeCa3Fe3+2(SiO4)3-x(OH)4x
9.AD.25KatoiteCa3Al2(SiO4)3-x(OH)4x
9.AD.25KimzeyiteCa3(Zr,Ti)2((Si,Al,Fe3+)O4)3
9.AD.25KnorringiteMg3Cr2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25MajoriteMg3(Fe2+,Si,Al)2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25MorimotoiteCa3(Ti,Fe2+,Fe3+)2((Si,Fe3+)O4)3
9.AD.25PyropeMg3Al2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25SchorlomiteCa3(Ti,Fe3+)2((Si,Fe3+)O4)3
9.AD.25SpessartineMn2+3Al2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25UvaroviteCa3Cr2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25Wadalite(Ca,Mg)6(Al,Fe3+)4((Si,Al)O4)3O4Cl3
9.AD.25HoltstamiteCa3(Al,Mn3+)2(SiO4)2(OH)4
9.AD.25KerimasiteCa3Zr2(SiO4)(Fe3+O4)2
9.AD.25ToturiteCa3Sn2(SiO4)(Fe3+O4)2
9.AD.25Momoiite(Mn2+,Ca)3V3+2(SiO4)3
9.AD.25EltyubyuiteCa12Fe3+10Si4O32Cl6
9.AD.25HutcheoniteCa3Ti2(SiAl2)O12
9.AD.30Coffinite(U4+,Th)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4x
9.AD.30HafnonHfSiO4
9.AD.30ZirconZr(SiO4)
9.AD.30Stetindite-(Ce)Ce(SiO4)
9.AD.35HuttoniteThSiO4
9.AD.35Tombarthite-(Y)Y4(Si,H4)4O12-x(OH)4+2x
9.AD.40EulytineBi4(SiO4)3
9.AD.45ReiditeZrSiO4

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals Grouping

14.11.2HuttoniteThSiO4
14.11.3UmbozeriteNa3Sr4Th[Si(O,OH)3-4]8
14.11.4Thornasite(Na,K)12Th3[Si8O19]4 · 18H2O
14.11.5Yttrialite-(Y)(Y,Th)2Si2O7
14.11.6Edgarbaileyite(Hg-Hg)3Si2O7

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)

51.5.2.1ZirconZr(SiO4)
51.5.2.2HafnonHfSiO4
51.5.2.4Coffinite(U4+,Th)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4x
51.5.2.5Thorogummite(Th,U)(SiO4)1-x(OH)4x
51.5.2.6Stetindite-(Ce)Ce(SiO4)

Other Information

Health Risks:
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:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
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

mindat.org URL:
https://www.mindat.org/min-3946.html
Please feel free to link to this page.
Specimens:
The following Thorite specimens are currently listed for sale on minfind.com.

Localities for Thorite

Mineral and/or Locality  
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