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Tozour Family's Fluorescent Rocks Page 13:

Radioactive Fluorescent Minerals

Gamma Radiation

Most fluorescent minerals are not radioactive, but some uranium and thorium containing minerals are both slightly radioactive and fluorescent.

See 3D Stereo pictures of radioactive minerals

(Click picture to enlarge)
Autunite - Autun, France Autunite - Autun, France (shortwave UV) Autunite, manganapatite - Center Strafford, NH Autunite, manganapatite - Center Strafford, NH (shortwave UV)
Autunite - Autun, France Autunite - Autun, France (shortwave UV) Autunite, manganapatite - Center Strafford, NH Autunite, manganapatite - Center Strafford, NH (shortwave UV)
Autunite - Kane Co., Utah Autunite - Kane Co., Utah (shortwave UV) Carnotite - Chihuahua, Mexico Carnotite - Chihuahua, Mexico (shortwave UV)
Autunite - Kane Co., Utah Autunite - Kane Co., Utah (shortwave UV) Carnotite - Chihuahua, Mexico Carnotite - Chihuahua, Mexico (shortwave UV)
Novachekite - Chihuahua, Mexico Novachekite - Chihuahua, Mexico (shortwave UV) Uranocircite, heinrichite - Mengen Schwand, Black Forrest, Germany Uranocircite, heinrichite - Mengen Schwand, Black Forrest, Germany (shortwave UV)
Novachekite - Chihuahua, Mexico Novachekite - Chihuahua, Mexico (shortwave UV) Uranocircite, heinrichite - Mengen Schwand, Black Forrest, Germany Uranocircite, heinrichite - Mengen Schwand, Black Forrest, Germany (shortwave UV)

Naturally occurring uranium and thorium are unstable elements and go through several steps of radioactive decay before ultimatly becoming the stable element lead. At each step of decay they eject alpha or beta particles. Gamma radiation usually accompanies each of these particle ejections. A gamma ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation like light or radio waves but with much higher energy.

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NuDat program

Thorite - Kemp Uranium Mine, Cardiff Township, Ontario, Canada, Geiger counter gamma

Here is a thorite specimen about one inch from a Geiger Counter. The specimen is about 1 1/2 " and seems to be solid thorite. Thorite is thorium uranium silicate, (Th, U)SiO4. Its two radioactive elements give off plenty of alpha, beta and gamma radiation on their way down to lead.

This Geiger counter isn't designed to read alpha particles and it was not positioned for reading beta so all radiation described on this page is gamma.

Radiation Meter General Information

The camera caught the meter at almost 0.3 mR/hr (milli-Roentgen per hour ) of gamma radiation but at this low reading the needle fluctuates wildly. The procedure for reading levels below 0.1 mR/hr is to count the clicks. About 330 clicks ( or counts) per minute corresponds to 0.1 mR/hr.

This 10 second sample of clicks recorded
from the Geiger counter at about one inch from the thorite shows around
25 counts / 10 sec. or 150 counts / minute or 0.05 mR/hr.

This 10 second sample ( above ) of clicks recorded from the Geiger counter at about one inch from the thorite shows around 25 counts / 10 sec. or 150 counts / minute or 0.05 mR/hr.


Exposure to gamma radiation from a point source follows the inverse square law so that if the distance from the source is doubled then the exposure is divided by four. In 1999, when I did these same tests, the readings were higher than now, 2014, and the readings seemed to follow the inverse square law more closely. The Geiger counter may be getting old.

This 10 second sample was taken at
about two inches from the thorite. 15 counts in 10 seconds equals 90
counts/minute = 0.03 mR/hr.

This 10 second sample ( above ) was taken at about two inches from the thorite. 15 counts in 10 seconds equals 90 counts/minute = 0.03 mR/hr.

This is a one minute sample of background
radiation. The Geiger counter was operated without any radioactive material
near it. About 12 counts / minute = 0.003 mR/hr

This is a one minute sample ( above ) of background radiation. The Geiger counter was operated without any radioactive material near it. About 12 counts / minute = 0.003 mR/hr

Andersonite, uraninite with autunite, and a uranium glass stopper were tested for gamma radiation at one inch over one minute. Although the meter seemed to detect radiation with short readings, the one minute readings showed no more counts then the background sample above.

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James E. Tozour, jtozour@comcast.net

Last Updated 10/9/2015

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