thorianite

thorianite

[thawr-ee-uh-nahyt, thohr-]
noun
a rare mineral, mainly thoria, ThO 2 , but also containing uranium, cerium, and other rare-earth metals, occurring in small, black, cubic crystals: notable for its radioactivity and used as a minor source of thorium.

Origin:
1900–05; thorian (thori(a) + -an) + -ite1

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World English Dictionary
thorianite (ˈθɔːrɪəˌnaɪt)
 
n
a rare black mineral consisting of thorium and uranium oxides. Formula: ThO2.U3O8

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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thorianite

thorium dioxide mineral (ThO2) that is very heavy, hard, and coloured dark gray to brownish black or bluish black. Originally found as waterworn grains and crystals in the gem gravels of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), thorianite also occurs sparsely in the black river and beach sands of Alaska, Madagascar, and Siberia. The refractory nature and scarcity of thorianite have restricted its commercial use as a source of thorium. It forms a solid-solution series with uraninite in which uranium atoms replace thorium atoms in the crystal structure. Rare earths and radiogenic lead and helium are often present. Varieties containing much uranium have been found in pegmatites in Quebec and Ontario and in serpentine at Easton, Pa. For detailed physical properties, see oxide mineral (table)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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