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Cubic Uraninite Crystal

The Mineral uraninite




Uraninite is the principle radioactive mineral, and it was once thought to be worthless. When the discovery of its useful uranium content was unveiled, it became extremely significant. It is the most common and widespread uranium mineral, making it the best known uranium ore. Many collectors refrain from collecting uranium minerals because of their hazards and fragility. Uranium minerals should be kept out of light, preferably in a sealed container, and should be handled as little as possible. Hands should always be washed after contact with any uranium mineral, and these minerals should never be stored in a room where one eats or sleeps on a regular basis.
Chemical Formula UO2
Composition Uranium dioxide, sometimes with small amounts of thorium
Variable Formula (U,Th)O2
Color Greenish to brownish-black, steel-black, black
Streak Brownish-black, grayish-brown, olive-green
Hardness 5 - 6
Crystal System Isometric
3D Crystal Atlas
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Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Crystals are usually cubic, occasionally octahedral, and rarely dodecahedral. Crystals can also be a combination of these three types, especially cubes with octahedral corners.  Crystals are usually distorted and often have rounded edges. They may also have modified growth layers. Also occurs massive, botryoidal, earthy, grainy, as groups of small crystals, and as dendritic growths on rock.
Transparency Opaque. Occasionally translucent in thin splinters.
Specific Gravity 6.4 - 10.6
Luster Submetallic, greasy, pitchy, or dull
Cleavage None
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Other ID Marks Highly radioactive
Complex Tests If a drop of concentrated nitric acid is placed on Uraninite, that spot becomes fluorescent.
In Group Oxides; Simple Oxides
Striking Features Radioactivity, high specific gravity, and crystal formations
Environment In pegmatite veins and in hydrothermal replacement deposits.
Rock Type Igneous, Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 1
Prevalence (1-3) 3
Demand (1-3) 1

Uraninite ON EBAY

VARIETIES
 -  Metamict, amorphous, impure variety of Uraninite. Pitchblende may be categorized by some as a separate mineral, but most references classify it as a variety of Uraninite.

USES
Uraninite is the primary ore of uranium. Rare earth elements such as thorium and yttrium are sometimes also mined from Uraninite.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES
Uraninite is found in many geographical areas, although mostly in small quantities. A classic European occurrence is Pribram, Bohemia, in the Czech Republic, where fine botryoidal agglomerations have come from. The occurrence of Katanga (Shaba), Congo (Zaire), has produced some of the finest and most lustrous crystals of Uraninite.

In the U.S., a very large deposit is in the Marysvale District, Piute Co., Utah, where Pitchblende occurs in enormous quantities. Excellent singe crystals have come from Topsham, Sagadahoc Co., Maine (especially the Swamp #1 Quarry), and dendritic Uraninite embedded in the host rock occurs in the Ruggles Mine, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, where it is often replaced by Gummite. Other well-known localities are Haddam and Portland, Middlesex Co., Connecticut and Spruce Pine, Mitchell Co., North Carolina.

In Canada, enormous crystals larger than any others were found at Wilberforce, Haliburton Co., Ontario, and good specimens have also come from Faraday Hill, Bancroft District, Hastings Co., Ontario.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS
Albite, Gummite, Uranophane, Zircon, Pyrite, Cassiterite, Chalcopyrite, Arsenopyrite, Quartz

DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS
Magnetite - Attracted to magnets, not radioactive.
Spinel - Much lighter in weight (3.5 - 4.1), different streak.
Cassiterite - Different streak (white), not radioactive.
Columbite-Tantalite - Not radioactive, different crystal system.


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