Ever find an interesting looking rock? Chances are, you actually found a mineral. A solid chemical substance, minerals are naturally occurring objects found in the earth. They are found in a variety of shapes and colors. Rare minerals are only found in a few remote places in the world, and they have interesting physical and chemical characteristics.
Allanite is a mineral that contains rare earth elements. The mineral is found in metamorphosed clay-rich sediments and igneous rock, which is formed by the cooling of magma or lava. Allanite was discovered in 1810 by mineralogist Thomas Allen. The mineral is usually black or dark brown in color and translucent to opaque. Allanite has a brittle tenacity and can be radioactive. As of 2011, only Los Angeles, California, and Llano County, Texas, has any record of Allanite findings.
Parisite is a rare mineral that contains a calcium compound, cerium and lanthanum. The mineral is found strictly in crystals. The parisite minerals are light brown in color and are translucent. J.J. Paris discovered the mineral in Colombia, South America, in the early 18th century. Parisite can be found in several locations in North America, including Ontario, Colorado, California, Arkansas and Idaho.
Wakefieldite is another rare mineral. It is found in four different variations: Wakefieldite (La), Wakefieldite (Ce), Wakefieldite (Nd), and Wakefieldite (Y). The metal ion within the mineral determines which variation of Wakefieldite it is. The mineral has several different colors, unique to the Wakefieldite variation, and is translucent to opaque. The first Wakefieldlite mineral was found in 1968 in Quebec, Canada. The minerals are found in remote places in the world such as Kinshasa, Zaire; Thuringia, Germany; and Shikoku Island, Japan.
Zircon is a rare mineral made from the zirconium silicate compound with uranium and thorium elements. The natural color of zircon varies from being colorless to golden, red, green, brown and blue. The colorless zircons are expensive, and can substitute for diamonds in jewelry making. Fine zircon crystals are a rarity that may be found in Norway, Germany or Madagascar.
About the Author
Derek King is an undergraduate student attending the University of Austin. King was editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper for four years. In addition to online instructional articles, he also creates content for the music and entertainment blog GetFreshKid.com.