Thorite - Encyclopedia




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THORITE, a rare mineral consisting of thorium silicate, crystallizing in the tetragonal system and isomorphous with zircon. The theoretical formula, ThSiO 4, requires 81.5% of thoria, but analyses show only 50-70%, there being also some uranium, cerium, &c. The mineral is almost always altered by hydration and is then optically isotropic and amorphous. Owing to differences in composition and to alteration, the specific gravity varies from 4.4 to 5.4. The colour is usually light brown, but in the variety known as "orangite" it is orange-yellow. The mineral occurs as isolated crystals and small masses in the augite-syenite near Brevik in South Norway; also at Arendal, and in the gem-gravels of Ceylon. If found in larger amount it would be an important source of thoria for incandescent gas mantles. (L. J. S.)

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