Mounana Mine, 80 km N.W. of Franceville, Haut-Ogooué Province, Gabon
The various colors of many minerals are frequently caused by certain elements being essential constituents of those minerals. The blue and green of Copper, or the pink of Manganese, easily come to mind. Not as widely appreciated are the fascinating hues that have their origins in Uranium as a constituent element. The bright lemon-yellow of Vanuralite finds its roots in that element, as well as a healthy amount of Vanadium and Aluminum, hence the name: Van-Ur-Al-ite. There are only two places on the planet where this striking mineral can be found and the better of those encompasses the Mounana and Oklo Mines located very close together in the bush of Gabon. A Sorbonne label indicates that this specimen hails from Mounana, the more productive of the two localities in Gabon. A deep yellow crust composed of Vanuralite in the form of bladed micro-crystals in rounded aggregates, coats a reddish-brown breccia fragment matrix that is typical for this deposit. There is an exposure of matrix in the center of the crust, otherwise the entire top surface and good portions of the bottom show varying levels of encrustation by the Vanuralite. This exotic mineral is but rarely seen since the mine was closed in 1999. It shows signs of stabilization to prevent loss of essential water and to keep the piece from shedding small fragments. NB Naturally radioactive.
Overall measurements: 4.5 x 2 x 1.5 inches (11.4 x 5.1 x 3.8 cm). Offered at no reserve.
Provenance: Ex. Luis Leite Collection, ex. Sorbonne [Hoppel Catalog # D1614]
[Scale: 1 inch, with mark at 1 cm]
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