Uraninite

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Uraninite
General
CategoryMineral
Chemical formula uranium oxide, UO2
Identification
Colour Black or brownish
Crystal habit Massive, botryoidal, granular. Crystals uncommon.
Crystal system Isometric
Cleavage Indistinct
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Mohs Scale hardness 5 - 6
Luster Submetallic, greasy
Refractive index Opaque
Pleochroism None
Streak Same as colour, black or brownish
Specific gravity 7.5 - 10
Fusibility ?
Solubility Soluble in sulfuric, nitric, and hydrofluoric acids.
Major varieties
Pitchblende Massive

Uraninite is a uranium-rich mineral with a composition that is largely UO2 (uranium oxide), but which also contains UO3 and oxides of lead, thorium, and rare earths. It is most commonly known in the variety pitchblende. All uraninite minerals contain a small amount of radium as a radioactive decay product of uranium; it was in pitchblende from the Jáchymov in Czechoslovakia that Marie Curie discovered radium. Uraninite also always contains small amounts of the lead isotopes, Pb-206 and Pb-207, the end products of the decay series of the uranium isotopes U-238 and U-235 respectively. Small amounts of helium are also present in uraninite as a result of alpha decay. Helium was first discovered on Earth in uraninite after previously being discovered spectroscopically in the Sun's atmosphere. The extremely rare element technetium can be found in uraninite in very small quantities (about 0.2 ng/kg), produced by the spontaneous fission of uranium-235.

Uraninite is a major ore of uranium. An important occurrence of pitchblende is at Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada, where it is found in large quantities associated with silver. It also occurs in Germany, England, and South Africa, and in New Hampshire, Connecticut, North Carolina, Wyoming, and New Mexico in the United States.

Reference

See also

lv:Uraninīts pl:Blenda uranowa

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