A fluorescent mineral is one that will glow
in the dark if it has an ultraviolet, or black, light shined on
it. When we went to the Sterling Hill Mine, we found out
that there are fluorescent minerals found with the
zinc that was
mined there. Our tour guide showed us a place, deep inside
the mine, that had chunks in a large bin. We were able to
pick one and then put it under an ultraviolet light for a
minute. When the lights were turned off, the mineral glowed!
Some fluorescent minerals are:
There are many uses for fluorescence. It is used in neon
lights, highway lights, TVs, computers, microscopes, and
paints. Fluorescent rocks can cost a lot of money
if they are rare, very beautiful, or have large crystals.
When the lights went off in the zinc mine, the minerals were
giving off amazing colors! Some were red and others were
green, orange, and yellow. We asked our science teacher to
use his black light to show us his collection of fluorescent
minerals. [This is the picture on the right.] It was really cool to see it all over again!
Fluorescent rocks at the
Sterling Hill Mineral Museum