Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

Badge 18 Fluorescent Minerals


18. Fluorescent Minerals

In Unit 17, we learned about all sorts of special effects. In this unit, we‘ll explore one special effect more deeply. To earn your Fluorescent Minerals badge, you should be able to define "fluorescence" and explain why some minerals fluoresce and then name some common fluorescent minerals. You might also learn about famous localities for fluorescent minerals, collect examples and create a fluorescent display case, and learn about safety when it comes to working with ultraviolet lamps.

Activity 18.1: *What is "Fluorescence" and Why Do Some Minerals Fluoresce?*

Note: This activity is required to earn this badge.

Define "fluorescence" and explain why some minerals fluoresce.

Activity 18.2: Famous Fluorescent Mineral Localities

Some fluorescent mineral localities have become world famous. Name at least three localities and some of the fluorescent minerals to be found at each.

Activity 18.3: Collecting Fluorescent Minerals

Build a collection of 6 to 10 fluorescent minerals and make a list or table telling what color they are under normal lighting, short-wave ultraviolet lighting, and long-wave ultraviolet lighting. Be sure to follow the basics of good curation in building your collection: label each specimen and keep a catalog with key information about what it is and where it came from. (See Badge 5: Collecting.)

Activity 18.4: Creating a Fluorescent Display Case and Exhibiting Your Collection

Building a fluorescent case requires more effort and parts than a normal mineral display case. Build your own and exhibit your collection at a gem show, county fair, school science fair, in class at school, or elsewhere. (See Badge 6: Showmanship.)

Activity 18.5: *Safety With Fluorescent Lamps*

Note: This activity is required to earn this badge.

Fluorescent lamps, particularly those emitting shortwave ultraviolet light, can 'sunburn' skin and eyes. Don‘t look directly into a fluorescent lamp when it‘s turned on, and limit the time you spend working under ultraviolet lighting. Learn what other precautions you should take when working with fluorescent lamps.

Activity 18.6: Special Effects of Some Fluorescent Minerals

In addition to changing color and glowing, some minerals show other special effects under fluorescent lighting. Name at least two other special effects and the minerals that produce them.