Autunite

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AutuniteUSGOV.jpg
Autunite

Autunite (hydrated calcium uranyl phosphate) with formula: Ca(UO2)2(PO4)2·10-12H2O is a yellow - greenish fluorescent mineral with a hardness of 2 - 2. Autunite crystallizes in the tetragonal system and often occcurs as tabular square crystals. Due to the high uranium content it is radioactive and also used as uranium ore. If the mineral dries out, it converts to meta-autunite-I, which can turn into meta-autunite-II after heating. These two subsequent minerals are very rare in nature. For scientific studies it is recommended to store the mineral in a sealed container to minimize the water loss. Museums are known to have covered the mineral with lacquer to avoid drying of the mineral. Autunite was discovered in 1852 near Autun, France.

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