If you walked around with an ultraviolet light, especially in parts of New Jersey, you might see a beautiful and eerie site. Glowing colored rocks!
Amazing But True!
- Fluorescence is one of the unusual traits that help geologists to identify minerals.
- These minerals fluoresce in ultraviolet (V) or black light.
- There are 357 different types of fluorescent minerals in New Jersey; 24 of them are not found anywhere else.
- Different minerals give off different colors.
- Manganese (Mn) is present in willemite and calcite as an impurity. This impurity makes some of the rocks fluoresce.
- Geologists think that these minerals may have come from underwater black smokers 1.3 billion years ago.
With the links below, learn more about fluorescent minerals. Then answer the following questions.
- Science Friday, Rock Stars: http://www.sciencefriday.com/video/05/05/2011/rock-stars.html
- The Sterling Hill Mining Museum: http://sterlinghillminingmuseum.org/warren/exhibits.php
- What does UV light do to the electrons in these fluorescent minerals?
- What causes the electrons to give off light?
- Why does Mn cause a glow of different colors in different minerals?
- Not all fluorescent minerals glow because of Mn. What else may cause minerals to glow?
- What geological feature are the fluorescent minerals found with?