= Radioactive Specimen
“INTRODUCTION TO RADIOACTIVE MINERALS”, By Dr. Robert J. Lauf, 144 pages, 11” X 8 1/2”, soft cover, illustrated with 196 color, and b/w photos. Collectors have long admired uranium and thorium minerals for their brilliant colors, the intense ultraviolet fluorescence of many of them, and their rich variety of habits and associates. Radioactive minerals are also critically important as our source of nuclear energy. Understanding them is crucial to the safe disposal of radioactive waste.
This book provides a systematic overview of the mineralogy of uranium and thorium-bearing minerals, generously illustrated with nearly 200 color photos and electron micrographs of representative specimens. Dr. Lauf has also included an historical discussion of the discovery of radioactive elements and the development of uranium and thorium ore deposits, a discussion of the geochemical conditions that produce significant deposits, and a description of important localities, their geological setting and history.
Major occurrences of interest to mineral collectors are arranged geographically. The minerals are arranged systematically, to emphasize how they fit into chemical groups, and for each group several minerals are selected to illustrate their formation and general characteristics.
This book is an invaluable guide for mineral collectors, particularly those specializing in collecting fluorescent minerals. With the resurgence of interest in nuclear power, the book will also provide valuable information for nuclear scientists and engineers interested in radioactive deposits.
Published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, PA, 2007.
Shipping weight: 3 pounds
Order Item BK0351
Happy Jack Mine, White Canyon, San Juan County, Utah
The Happy Jack Mine was a sedimentary type deposit where the Uraninite and other minerals were formed in a sandstone matrix. In the 1950’s the Happy Jack Mine proved to be the second richest deposit of high grade Uranium ores in the nation, the first being the Mi Vida Mine, also in San Juan County. The San Juan County area experienced significant growth during the Uranium boom of the 1950’s. The specimens listed below were collected by Dr. Eugene B. Gross, who worked for the Atomic Energy Commission during the period of development of the Uranium-bearing mines in Utah for strategic use by the government. Demand for Uranium subsided in the early 1960’s. On Jan. 1, 1960, the mill at the Happy Jack Mine was closed permanently by the AEC. The mill tailings were stabilized by 1962, and the mill was dismantled in 1964. Luckily, Dr. Gross had the foresight to collect quite a few specimens from this extraordinary deposit during its heyday of production. All of the specimens are in natural condition, as collected by Dr. Gross.
Note that in some of the sedimentary deposits of minerals in the Colorado Plateau uranium mines, such as the Happy Jack Mine and the Mi Vida Mine, the sandstone was enriched by irregular replacement of Calcite cemented by the ore minerals. Portions of the ore zones contained elongated, black pods measuring from several inches to several feet long. These pods were found to be replacements of wood by Uraninite and Calcite. In some areas where replacements of wood were found, large logs were replaced by mineralization of Uraninite and Calcite. Pyrite and Galena were sometimes noted in the carbonaceous material. Dr. Gross reported, in his study of the mineralogy of the Mi Vida Mine, that “nearly all of the Uraninite occurs as replacement of wood, but it also occurs as a cementing mineral in sandstone, generally adjacent to carbonaceous material.” 1. Unlike the Mi Vida Mine, the Happy Jack Mine ores also contained Copper, which ultimately provided a much greater diversity of secondary minerals.
From a 1954 USGS publication, “The best development of relatively unoxidized, nonvanadiferous ore is the Pitchblende-Copper sulfide deposit in which the Happy Jack Mine is located at White Canyon, Utah. The ore contains both sooty Pitchblende and massive Pitchblende that is so pure and of such high specific gravity (9.0) as to justify calling it Uraninite. Some of the Pitchblende replaces fossil wood and some, in tabular masses, does not show wood structure. It is closely associated with Chalcopyrite, Pyrite, Bornite, Chalcocite, Sphalerite, and Galena, and traces of Cobalt, Nickel, Molybdenum, and Silver.” 2.
In addition to Uraninite, more than 60 other minerals have been identified from the ores of the Happy Jack Mine. In fact, research on specimens in existing collections of minerals from the locality yielded two new species, Natrozippeite (1971) and Cobaltzippeite (1976), after the closure of the mine. Below is a list of the minerals present on the various specimens in the table, below. With the exception of Uraninite, not all of the minerals are present on every specimen.
From a 1954 USGS publication, “The best development of relatively
unoxidized, nonvanadiferous ore is the Pitchblende-Copper sulfide
deposit in which the Happy Jack Mine is located at White Canyon, Utah.
The ore contains both sooty Pitchblende and massive Pitchblende that is
so pure and of such high specific gravity (9.0) as to justify calling it
Uraninite. Some of the Pitchblende replaces fossil wood and some, in
tabular masses, does not show wood structure. It is closely associated
with Chalcopyrite, Pyrite, Bornite, Chalcocite, Sphalerite, and Galena,
and traces of Cobalt, Nickel, Molybdenum, and Silver.” 2.
# Bieberite, CoSO4.7H2O, is a very rare Cobalt-bearing mineral. Bieberite is pale pink, and is not fluorescent.
## Johannite, Cu(UO2)2(SO4)2(OH)2·8H2O, is a very rare Copper-bearing mineral belonging to the Zippeite group. Johannite is yellow-green in color, and is not fluorescent.
FL indicates this mineral is fluorescent. Uranopilite fluoresces bright yellow-green, best under SW UV. The other fluorescent minerals give modest to weak responses in both SW and LW UV.
NOTES REGARDING PRICING, AND SPECIMEN PREPARATION: The gram weights of the specimens are given in the table below, simply as a measure of specimen size. Specimens are not sold by the gram. Small specimens have smaller amounts of Uraninite present, so the overall mR/hr and CPM readings are naturally lower on the small specimens, than the readings given for the larger examples. Note that in some specimens that have heavy gram weights, and modest mR/hr and CPM readings, the presence of Bornite or other sulfide minerals accounts for some of the specimen weight. Bornite is often intergrown or intimately associated with the Uraninite in specimens from the Happy Jack Mine, and it is difficult to visually distinguish the Bornite, etc. from the Uraninite in the photographs.
1. “Mineralogy and Paragenesis of the Uranium Ore, Mi Vida Mine, San Juan County, Utah,” Dr. Eugene B. Gross, Economic Geology, Vol. 51, No. 7, November 1956, P. 634-635.
2. “Identification and Occurrence of Uranium
and Vanadium Minerals from the Colorado Plateaus”, Geol. Survey Bulletin
1009-B, A. D. Weeks and M. E. Thompson, 1954, P. 21-22
In addition to the Uraninite specimens listed above, there was one specimen of Cobaltzippeite in the collection of Dr. Eugene B. Gross, as shown in the photo at the left. Cobaltzippeite is a secondary mineral first identified from the Happy Jack Mine in the mid-1970s. On this specimen Cobaltzippeite was formed as coatings of orange micro spheroidal aggregates richly covering the surface of the matrix, associated with yellow-green micro crystalline / crystals of Johannite.
Specimen size: 2” X 1” across X 1/2” thick
The Clora May Mine is
also known as Mina Blanca or the Clara May Lode. Several other rare
earth element-bearing minerals have been identified from this locality.
For background information, see “Minerals of Colorado”, E. Eckel, P. 12
(1997). Aeschynite-(Y) from this locality is available as pure,
lustrous, brownish-black masses without matrix, or with very tiny veinlets
of matrix intergrown, very shiny on the fresh surfaces. Typical of many
of the REE-bearing minerals, natural weathered surfaces have a dull
luster. Note: Item MI-1616 is a matrix specimen with about 40%
Aeschynite-(Y) and 60% dark gray massive smoky Quartz. The accompanying
locality photograph was supplied by Rudy Bolona, a Colorado mineral
collector. This looks like a nice looking place to go field collecting!
Aeschynite-(Y) is (Y,Ca,Fe,Th)(Ti,Nb)2(O,OH)6.
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