Sphalerite – Day 13 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

This holiday season, why not get a mineral every day instead of chocolate? Today’s mineral is Sphalerite find out more about it below..

As we move towards the 25th of December, the number of shopping days decreases – and you might be out searching for the perfect gift! If you decide you want a more modern gift than yesterday’s Uranium Glass, you might decide to get a fancy new touchscreen device, but they are dependant on a lot of minerals, metals and elements to make them work!

There are lots of different touchscreen devices now - but they all need indium! Image is from wikipedia.

There are lots of different touchscreen devices now – but they all need indium! Image is from wikipedia.

One of the most important of these is a rare earth element (REE) called Indium, which you can find in the zinc ore mineral, Sphalerite. This is part of the same group of economically important elements as Neodymium (from Day 2 – Monazite) Without sphalerite (and therefore indium) your touchscreen device would just be another phone or computer!

A geogrous Sphalerite photo taken by Chinellato Matteo from Chinellatophoto.com, avaliable on the MinDat website.

A geogrous Sphalerite photo taken by Chinellato Matteo from Chinellatophoto.com, avaliable on the MinDat website.

Sphalerite:
Chemical formula: ZnS
Colour: Yellow, light to dark brown, black, red-brown, colourless, light blue. green
System: Isometric
Hardness (Mohs): 3½ – 4
Can you find it in the UK? Yes

The locations you can find Sphalerite in the UK.

The locations you can find Sphalerite in the UK.

You can find Sphalerite in several locations in the UK, across Scotland, England and Wales, including two of the most popular areas to find minerals of all types, Cornwall and Cumbria. Perhaps if you are still struggling for a gift you could take a loved one on a mineral hunting trip to one of these locations – I’m sure they would love it! Just ask my family!

I guess even my family can't be excited by rocks and fossils ALL the time!

I guess even my family can’t be excited by rocks and fossils ALL the time!

On second thoughts maybe don’t ask my family…..!

For more information about Sphalerite please visit the MinDat website.

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