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Thursday, May 16

Mineralogy of Uranium and Thorium

Dr. Robert Lauf, , Oak Ridge
ASM Oak Ridge Chapter Seminar
5:30 PM — 7:30 AM, Rothchild's Conference Center
Contact: Lindsay Kolbus (, 865.368.3603


Collectors have long admired uranium and thorium minerals for their brilliant colors, frequently intense ultraviolet fluorescence, and rich variety of habits and associates. Radioactive minerals are also critically important to modern society as our source of nuclear energy, and understanding them is crucial to the safe disposal of radioactive waste. This talk provides a systematic overview of the mineralogy of uranium and thorium, illustrated with color photos representative specimens from the author's extensive research collection. It begins with a brief historical discussion of the discovery of radioactive elements and the development of uranium and thorium ore deposits. Then, the minerals are arranged systematically, to emphasize how the minerals fit into chemical groups, and for each group a few minerals are selected to illustrate their formation and general characteristics. With the resurgence of interest in nuclear power, the program will be of interest to mineral collectors as well as to nuclear scientists and engineers interested in radioactive deposits.