Rock & Gem

A “Hot” New Mineral Is Named


ThŒe Bible says all things old are new again. Well, welcome to “oldsite,” a “new” uranium mineral! To become o‘cial within the list of certi ed minerals, any new mineral must pass muster and be veri ed by the Internatio­nal Mineralogi­cal Associatio­n (IMA). Oldsite has recently passed this test and thus gives us one more mineral to seek to add to our collection­s.

Yellowish in color and shaped like little blades, oldsite crystals have been named in honor of Travis Olds, Assistant Curator of Minerals at the famed Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Dr. Olds is a specialist in uranium mineralogy.

Oldsite forms as a secondary mineral deposit where water and oxygen interact with uranium and iron-sulfide minerals. Specimens were discovered clinging to the walls of the North Mesa Mines near Temple Mountain in Utah. Because most large and clearly obvious minerals have been discovered and named long ago, oldsite—like most new minerals named by IMA--is a microminer­al with crystals that average only some 0.3 millimeter­s long and that easily dissolve in water. Œus, this discovery is somewhat fortuitous. How many other similarly ephemeral minerals remain to be found and named?

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