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Mineral Detectives, Part II



Mineral Detectives, Part II
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.62

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    asterism, carnotite, chatoyancy, eucryptite, fluorescence, magnetite, nonsilicate, phosphorescence, radium, calcite, lodestones, lithium, radioactivity, magnetism, counters, uranium
     content words:    Mineral Detectives


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Mineral Detectives, Part II
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     In Mineral Detectives, Part I, we discussed the physical properties of minerals and how mineralogists use these properties to identify unknown minerals. In this article we will explore a few special properties of minerals that are used by scientists as they solve the "mineral mystery." These special properties are fluorescence, phosphorescence, chatoyancy, asterism, double refraction, magnetism, and radioactivity.
 
2     Some minerals appear a certain way in ordinary light. However, when they are placed under ultraviolet light, their color changes, and they appear to glow. This quality is called fluorescence. When minerals have the quality of fluorescence, they produce light that has different colors under ultraviolet light. If you were to hold the mineral calcite in ordinary light, you would notice that it appears white. However, place that same mineral under ultraviolet light, and it will appear red. A few minerals on Earth not only glow under ultraviolet light, but they continue to glow for a period of time after they are removed from ultraviolet light. This property is called phosphorescence. The mineral eucryptite, an ore of lithium, is phosphorescent.

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