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RM2137   Betafite (of Hogarth 1977), variety of Pyrochlore

Silver Crater Mine, Basin Property, Faraday Township, Hastings Co., Ontario, Canada

Group of interpenetrated betafite crystals of good size that show the most developed faces of the dodecahedron. Interesting crystallography. It is accompanied by zircon crystals. These mottled-brown isometric crystals are from the well-known Silver Crater Mine at Bancroft. This is an excellent and uncommon example, today. Most specimens of this quality came out in the 1950s, during the active mining period. An old, classic and essential piece in any collection. This specimen bears the label of Tysons', a Canadian mineral dealer.
Although the term betafite was discredited in 2010, many of us still are using this term to define this mineral when we see it. Our specimen is an uranium, calcium, titanium and niobium/tantalum oxide with radioactive activity. Currently the betafite is included as a variety within the pyrochlore supergroup. As a note, the rich uranium term has been only found in the Moon (oxyuranobetafite).

Size: 4 x 3 x 2.5 cm.
Main crystal: 2.4 x 2.4 cm

Presents radioactive activity.