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Roger Weller, geology instructor                             

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Fluorescent Minerals
Steve Tyminski
Physical Geology
Fall 2007

                                            Fluorescent Minerals
 

          Fluorescent minerals typically look like any other rock that one might find in the driveway, that is until you view them under a ultraviolet light.  Excited under ultraviolet energy, these ordinary looking minerals blaze with brilliant and beautiful colors that may remind you of your childhood and that special poster in your bedroom. Some of the best specimens of fluorescent minerals have several colors in the same specimen.  Fluorescent minerals are fairly easy to find out in the field, that is if you know where to look.  Fluorescent minerals don’t just lie in abundance in your back yard.  Probably the worlds first and foremost location for fluorescent minerals is Franklin New Jersey however, the Franklin mine closed in 1954 and the mine shafts have since flooded with water and have caved in.  No new minerals are coming out of the Franklin mines. Another famous location, the Sterling Hill mine, in the next town over closed in 1986 and is also flooded.   But, if you live in Cochise County Arizona, you’re in luck because there are a number of prime locations to collect fluorescent minerals in your vicinity. 

 

          The presence of fluorescent minerals is not an every day common occurrence.  The odds of finding fluorescent minerals in your back yard are relatively slim. The chances of finding fluorescent minerals in your driveway are much better because the rock in your driveway has been excavated from the earth then crushed to a uniform size before being delivered to your location. Fluorescent minerals are often present in stream beds where rocks collect from nearby outcroppings as a result of erosion. Searching streambeds for fluorescent minerals is actually a common means of locating the major vein of a mineral deposit.

 

          For example, Scheelite; a calcium tungstate mineral that fluoresces bright blue, is readily identified in stream beds and can easily lead to the location of a profitable vein. “Many prospectors for scheelite have made good use of scheelite's typically bright blue fluorescence by searching for scheelite deposits by night with ultraviolet lamps. Many old mines have even been reopened after examination of the mine shafts with ultraviolet lamps have proven that the ore is not quite yet exhausted.”[i] According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the value of laboratory grade powdered scheelite, at the time of this writing is $216.00 per 100 grams[ii].  Ores of this purity are required to be certified, please see attachment 1: NIST Scheelite Certification.

 

          Please see attachment 2 “Fluorescent Mineral of Cochise County And Their Properties” for a scientific description of each of the following minerals listed in this review of Fluorescent Minerals of Cochise County.

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[i]  http://www.galleries.com/minerals/sulfates/scheelit/scheelit.htm
[ii]Retrieved from the internet at: https://srmors.nist.gov/view_cert.cfm?srm=2430