Uranium Mineral Museum

The minerals below are from some of the most notable Uranium deposits in North America, Europe, Australia and Africa that are a significant part of the history of Uranium mining. These specimens are not for sale. 

Huge Uraninite Specimen Possibly Collected by Martin Klaproth in the late 1700’s

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Martin Klaproth discovered Uranium in 1789. This is a large and very active specimen of Pitchblende that dates to Martin Klaproth and the location where he collected the mineral. It also has a label from the museum that purchased Klaproth’s meteorite and Uranium-bearing mineral specimens. The history on the label for this specimen is that it uses an old obscure term for pitchblende, “Uranpecherz" that was discontinued around 1820. Thus, this specimen may have been collected by Martin Klaproth, as he died in 1817 and his collection was acquired by the museum prior to his death. 


Extremely Rare Uraninite Specimen from Shinkolobwe Mine in The Congo

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Off scale

The sharp cubic crystals of black Uraninite on this specimen from Shinkolobwe mine in The Congo are exceedingly rare. This piece feels incredibly heavy, and indeed while it is only 4.5 x 4.5 x 3.5 cm in size, it weighs over 237 grams - over half a pound. Owing to its high concentration of Uranium and Radium that Shinkolobwe is known for, on a Ludlum Model 3 with a 44-3 Gamma probe it tops off the meter (scale in photo above at the maximum x100 setting). Using an Alpha-only probe, the reading is about 30,000 CPM. 


Uraninite Specimen from Radium Hill in South Australia

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Uraninite Specimen from Radium Hill in South Australia

This “Uraninite” specimen has the same density as high-grade ore, however it shows about half the Gamma output of a comparable high-grade specimen. And, like all other Uranium specimens on the spectrometer it shows Radium, occasionally natural Uranium. But….unlike any other mineral specimen it always shows the presence of Am-241 and occasionally Plutonium (which could lead to Am-241 readings, but then how would Plutonium be associated with this rock). The spectrometer has been calibrated many times to a standard Cs-137 source, and always measures other calibration sources correctly. There is no Am-241in the background either. The only time the spectrometer reads Am-241 is with an Am-241 source ….. and with this rock. 

So, what is going on? One person suggested that perhaps fallout drifted from the British nuclear tests that occurred between 1956 and 1963 at the Maralinga site - but this seems implausible due to the distance between the test site and the mine. A lot of online research has also been conducted on any possible disposal of nuclear waste at the Radium Hill mine - and while there was discussion of it, it does not seem to have ever occurred. The only “waste” at the former mine is the usual tailings. But, how would man-made, synthetic Am-241 get into or on the rock? Quite a mystery


Huge Active Radian-Barite Specimen from the Czech Republic

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Radian-Barite (aka Radiobarite) is is comprised of radium and barium sulfate. It is considered by some to be the “most radioactive substance found in nature” and webmineral.com in fact lists it as a whopping 444,528 mR/hour for 1000 grams. 

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However, since Radium has a half-life of about 1600 years, this level of activity is rarely found in mineral deposits. This large specimen (over 2700 grams) came from Lahošť (Jeníkov), Duchcov (Dux), Ústí Region, Bohemia (Böhmen; Boehmen) in the Czech Republic. This location is known for its Radium-Barite deposits. As shown above, the dark brown crystals of the material are readily identified by a Gamma spectrometer as Ra-226.  A specimen of this extraordinary size is rarely seen on the market


The Congo

It was from the Shinkolobwe mine in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that the United States acquired Uranium to supply the Manhattan Project. This area, considered a freak of nature, has some of the richest, most beautiful and hottest Uranium minerals to be found anywhere in the world. Each of the Uranium minerals below are from this region of the Congo and are from old collections that were put together before the mines were officially closed, flooded and sealed. As shown in the photos below, the colors and activity levels of these specimens are truly unique. 

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Becquerelite, Curite, Uraninite, Uranophane. 188 grams. 460,000 CPM and 200 mR/hr.

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Uraninite, Curite and Soddyite. 88 grams. 440,000 CPM and 180 mR/hr.

Curite

Curite. 72 grams. 400,000 CPM and 160 mR/hr.

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Sklodowskite. 105 grams. 300,000 CPM and 125 mR/hr.

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Vandenbrandeite, Schoepite and Cuprosklodowskite. 65 grams. 300,000 CPM and 125 mR/hr.

Torbernite. 652 grams. 400,000 CPM and 175 mR/hr.

Cuprosklodowskite with Malachite: 120 grams. 120,000 CPM and 35 mR/hr.

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Torbernite: 54 grams. 300,000 CPM and 105 mR/hr.

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Rutherfordine and Schoepite: 58 grams. 150,000 CPM and 55 mR/hr.

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 Vandenbrandeite from Zaire: 33 grams. 125,000 CPM and 35 mR/hr

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Kasolite: 18 grams. 220,000 CPM and 70 mR/hr.

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Parsonite: 35 grams. 320,000 CPM and 125 mR/hr.

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Torbernite: 140 grams. 420,000 CPM and 175 mR/hr.


Canada

Bags of Uranium ore were ferried by  miners working at  Port Radium from the Eldorado mine across Great Bear Lake. The crushed ore was refined in Port Hope, Ontario. This ore also fed the Manhattan project.  As shown in the photos below,  these specimens are incredibly high grade examples of essentially pure Pitchblende / Uraninite.  The last two photos from the January 14, 1946 issues of “Life Magazine” show the the mines in the area after the end of World War II.

Pitchblende with Slight Botryoidal Texture from Great Bear Lake. 156 grams. 320,000 CPM and 125 mR/hr. 

Pitchblende from Great Bear Lake. 112 grams. 340,000 CPM and 130 mR/hr. 

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Uraninite with Gold from Great Bear Lake. 65 grams. 290,000 CPM and 100 mR/hr. 

Huge Uraninite from Dennison Mine at Elliott Lake Ontario. Over 3,600 grams (8 pounds). 380,000 CPM and 160 mR/hr.

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Thorite from Bancroft Ontario. 554 grams. 110,000 CPM and 40 mR/hr.

 


Germany

Classic example of pure, rich, heavy and dense Uraninite from Saxony Germany.  Wismut was a uranium mining company active in Saxony during the cold war. It produced a total of 230,400 tons of uranium between 1947 and 1990 and made East Germany the fourth largest producer of uranium ore in the world at the time.

Uraninite from Schlema, Germany. 240,000 CPM and 80 mR/hr. 



The Czech Republic

This region of the world in considered the birthplace of large-scale Uranium mining. The botryoidal specimens from these locations are incredibly active. Several localities in Czechoslovakia were mined by the former Soviet Union during the cold war. The largest deposits were in Pribram and these locations yielded about 50,000 tons of Uranium.

Botryoidal Pitchblende from Bukov, Rozzna Deposit in the Czech Republic: 93 grams. 200,000 CPM and 50 mR/hr.

Uraninite from Mine #3, Kamenna Shaft, Pribram, Czech Republic: 86 grams. 250,000 CPM and 90 mR/hr.

Uraninite from Mine #3, Kamenna Shaft, Pribram, Czech Republic: 147 grams. 250,000 CPM and 90 mR/hr.

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Botryoidal Pitchblende / Uraninite from Pribram in the Czech Republic: 125 grams. 440,000 CPM and 175 mR/hr.

Pitchblende from Pribram in the Czech Republic: 115 grams. 400,000 CPM and 150 mR/hr.

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Botryoidal Uraninite from Pribram in the Czech Republic: 148 grams. 340,000 CPM and 125 mR/hr.

Radianbaryte from Lahost in the Czech Republic: 362 grams. 2,500 CPM and 1 mR/hr.


England

Pitchblende from Cornwall England. 107 grams. 100,000 CPM and 30 mR/hr.

Pitchblende from Cornwall England. 178 grams. 200,000 CPM and 50 mR/hr.



The United States

Two stunningly beautiful and superbly active historical specimens of Schoepite  Gummite and dendritic Uraninite from the Ruggles Mine in Grafton New Hampshire. The top three photos show a superior slab specimen that was collected by the well-known geologist Benjamin Shaub in 1938 (see photos for additional details). The next three show a massive 4082 gram (nine pound) uncut and unpolished chunk of the same material. 

The next two photos are from the famous Mi Vida mine. On July 6, 1952, Charlie Steen found an extremely large and very high grade deposit of Pitchblende in Lisbon Valley, southeast of Moab, Utah. His story was one of incredible perseverance through hardship until he found what he was looking for. He named it the "Mi Vida" mine (My Life), and it was the first big strike of the uranium boom. Steen made millions off his claims, which prompted a "Uranium Rush" of prospectors into the Four Corners region. Those who knew him describe him as a very generous man who gave back to the community in terms of education and housing for workers. He died in 2006 with most of his fortune lost to various investments. The ashes of Charlie Steen and his wife Minnie Lee were scattered at the Mi Vida site. The mine is no longer active.

The Mi Vida specimens are followed by a very rare high grade drill core sample is from the Hack #2 mine Coconino, Arizona. The sample was taken in 1965. Finally, the photo at the bottom of the page shows an enormous 105 pound piece of petrified wood with Carnotite from the Anaconda mine in New Mexico. Note the penny in the first photo for size reference. This piece was collected decades ago by a mine foreman working in the Uranium mine. The piece looks like a recent piece of tree trunk until you touch it and then try to lift it. It is SOLID rock - and replete with Carnotite and perhaps some Uraninite too in a particularly hot area of the specimen (the last photo in the series).

It is difficult to gauge or report the radioactivity of this specimen due to its sheer size. Any Geiger counter measure obviously underestimates the radioactivity of the specimen in its totality because the probe on the counter covers such a small area of the surface. At the surface, the specimen ranges up to 100,000 CPM and 25 mR/hr. And, it measures about 200 to 300 CPM from several feet away. There are cracks running through the specimen as can be seen in the photos as would be expected with a specimen that is perhaps as much as 150 million years old (exact carbon dating not available).

Polished Slab of Schoepite, Gummite and Uraninite. 722 grams. 450,000 CPM and 200 mR/hr. 

Pitchblende from Charlie Steen's Mi Vida mine: 93 grams. 300,000 CPM and 125 mR/hr.

Pitchblende from Charlie Steen's Mi Vida Mine: 477 grams. 140,000 CPM and 50 mR/hr.

Drill Core Sample of High Grade Uraninite from the Hack #2 Mine in Arizona. 92 grams. 200,000 CPM and 60 mR/hr.

Pitchblende from Schwartzwalder Mine in Colorado: 210 grams. 200,000 CPM and 50 mR/hr.

Pitchblende with Autunite from Crooks Gap Wyoming: 321 grams. 340,000 CPM and 140 mR/hr.

Pitchblende with Autunite from Crooks Gap Wyoming: 268 grams. 260,000 CPM and 90 mR/hr.

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Petrified wood laced with Pitchblende from Colorado : 112 pounds (check penny for size reference). 

© Pro Partners & Associates 2018