Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Radioactive Minerals

Kovoc - 8-8-2019 at 15:45

Can someone tell me where I could find radioactive rocks and what they look like? I'm not sure to tell which ones could possibly be radioactive and which ones are just rocks (I don't have a Geiger counter)

diddi - 8-8-2019 at 17:45

check mindat.org for minerals in your area. also you so need a geiger. i bought a custom designed alpha / beta / gamma setup for under $100 and it is really good. if you can find a friend in US the can post you rocks from United Nuclear.
the rocks look no different from other rocks. unless you are pretty skilled, you will have difficulty in ID them in the field. many are just fine coloured powders on matrix.

Herr Haber - 9-8-2019 at 00:34

Quote: Originally posted by diddi  
i bought a custom designed alpha / beta / gamma setup for under $100 and it is really good.


I'd be very interested in more details as I am looking to buy one.

j_sum1 - 9-8-2019 at 01:38

I have heard of someone scouting for uranium ore in the dark armed with a bottle of nitric acid. After reacting with the acid the uranium compounds glow. Details are on the board here somewhere.

Ubya - 9-8-2019 at 03:41

Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
I have heard of someone scouting for uranium ore in the dark armed with a bottle of nitric acid. After reacting with the acid the uranium compounds glow. Details are on the board here somewhere.

glow under uv light

Herr Haber - 9-8-2019 at 04:08

There are a lot of things underground that stand out with UV light :)

j_sum1 - 9-8-2019 at 04:29

Quote: Originally posted by Ubya  
Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
I have heard of someone scouting for uranium ore in the dark armed with a bottle of nitric acid. After reacting with the acid the uranium compounds glow. Details are on the board here somewhere.

glow under uv light


Oh yeah. Left out that detail.

Ubya - 9-8-2019 at 14:34

Quote: Originally posted by Herr Haber  
There are a lot of things underground that stand out with UV light :)


you are right, but uranium 6+ has a characteristic color, that nice green/Yellow that not many minerals have

violet sin - 29-5-2020 at 22:52

-diddi, under 100$ for all three measurements? sounds *far better that what I've see searching lately. Lingering in the high 300$ to low 400$ range. Also seemed like the wording could be problematic if you don't know enough. A couple poorly thought out purchases could hamper real progress.

Just started with this side of rock collecting. Absorbing information, while trying to weed out misconceptions. Wishful thinking can be directly fought with a measuring device. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

There are a few samples I've found deer hunting, probably nothing. I was hoping for heavy metals, never thought about radioactive minerals though. I've found quartz with pyrite, dark oxides, some green crystals, but northern California isn't known for direct ore body from my reading, though placers and grains could be concentrated downstream from some rock types. the green I was thinking adventurine probably, and not radioactive. Probably nothing at all, but a couple hours south are know minerals on mindat.org https://www.mindat.org/minlocsearch.php?frm_id=mls&cform...

That's within planned trip range. <100$ sounds unbeatable for a meter... Tell me more. I'd love to build something one day. Till then, plenty of reading to do.

Ubya - 30-5-2020 at 08:43

i bought my Geiger counter on Ebay for 60$ (https://www.ebay.com/itm/NetIO-Geiger-Counter-Embedded-Modul...)
it can read beta and gamma, but doesn't have an housing, so i had in mind to ask a friend to 3d print one for me (thingiverse has a case for this model), but i've not been able to do so.
in the end what i did was to upgrade this counter for 10$ total i think. i added a 5000mAh powerbank as the main battery instead of using AAA batteries, i added a micro USB cable extension/panel adapter so i could charge the powerbank from outside the case, i soldered wires and buttons to go on the case, and i bought some BNC connectors and a BNC cable so i could build a probe for the geiger tube. the case is just an electrical box.

it is based on arduino so it can be connected to a pc via USB-TTL, and via serial commands you can tweak a few things(like the voltage to the probe)

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i'm trying to find a cheap mica pancake tube so i can see some alpha :)

violet sin - 4-6-2020 at 02:55

Nice job customizing it, was wondering how well that kit worked out. Have you tried it on any samples or done prospecting with it? An around the lab/house safety sniffer seems like it's a first priority maybe. How ya like it so far?

I see some vintage equipment for not too much. Looks like a decent way to get an enclosure and external probe ... But I've no idea yet what tubes are good for what circumstances, not to mention some of it is OLD. Some looked to have a check source built in for calibration...

The newer 200$ variety seem to have some basic graphical representations and a short memory which is kinda impressive from the short vid I saw.

350$ and up starts looking like real equipment.

This hobby, learning as they call it, is damn expensive. I was quite impressed with the equipment I saw on neptunium's vid at the end of the radioisotope identification thread. That was a great video with a lot of fun science and I found it very enjoyable.

Here are a couple of the rocks I found. To me looks like quartz with calcite and possibly some barite dispersed around interesting(to me) dark flecks and pyrite like minerals. It was on a slide side of a peak neat a fire look out. Couldn't pass them by ...

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Plenty of rust bleeding veins of quartz, some pyrite and lots of rock to pour your eyes on. I don't expect them to be anything fantastic, but the little mineralization seemed like a good target for a chem project some day, probably boring, but finding out won't be so, win.

Ubya - 4-6-2020 at 07:28

i'm pretty happy with it.
i tested it against a few sources, i have an autunite sample, a few tungsten-ThO2 electrodes, 2 americium-241 sources, 5g of uranyl acetate, a tritium vial (can't detect anything from tge vial).

i went prospecting a bit, but italy is not famous for its uranium giaciments, at the moment i could just test a few volcanic rocks, and i could get a few big piles where the background radiation got to 1microsievert/h.

the only thing i don't like about it it's the time needee to get a reading, it doesn't extrapolate the CPM from a few counts, to get the real value you have to wait one minute each time.


violet sin - 28-8-2020 at 18:34

I snagged a cheap detector, and it came a day early. There are probably better units, I did little reading, but it works and <100$. I can't 3D print casings and have very little spare time. Thanks for sharing though Ubya.

Detecting immediately my purchased samples, welding electrodes 4% Thoriated and then the rocks I've found ... Nada on the latter which, seems 100% fitting, but still disappointing. I checked a Vaseline pony statue of about 7" tall and it was underwhelmingly above background. The thorium welding rod 10pack wasn't great... But this little orange vase that's been sitting on our mantle was hot by comparison.

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The vase topped out around 650cpm with the detector on top of it. What a surprise, we'd no idea, it's now in another ventilated room only accessable from outside...

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The Tyuyamunite was ok, but the thorianite sample however was HOT topping out ~4150cpm for 7 small pieces!

So it begins, time to check the shale banks around or ranch. Maybe some stream bed near granite, also not far. Eventually a geo minded trip to known sources in California. Of course, plenty to learn still.

Sulaiman - 28-8-2020 at 23:48

Quote: Originally posted by Kovoc  
Can someone tell me where I could find radioactive rocks and what they look like? I'm not sure to tell which ones could possibly be radioactive and which ones are just rocks (I don't have a Geiger counter)

Without a Geiger counter or similar,
. there is not much point in colecting radioactive rocks,
. finding radioactive rocks will be more difficult.

Radioactivity sounds interesting,
but unless you have an application for it,
you will soon wonder why you started.
Buying, shipping and storage are worse than for 'chemicals'

Heptylene - 29-8-2020 at 07:28

I can recommend this ebay seller for geiger counters. For about $50 I got his arduino geiger counter kit with an SBM-20 tube a year ago and it's been working fine! I'm not affiliated, just a happy customer.

I've upgraded the tube to an SBT-10a tube which can detect alpha particles too (SBM-20 can't). You also need a handful of 15 megaohms resistors for this.

The SBT-10a was only $50 (vintage surplus from russia or ukraine I believe) which is pretty cheap as far as alpha probes go. It has a huge sensitive area and a mica window.

I have not gone mineral hunting with yet, but I think it will work really well.

violet sin - 29-8-2020 at 20:31


Let it sit and get a nice long reading on potash fertilizer from a garden store, on exposed 4%thoriated rod, and just sitting for background reading. B/c I just didn't actually wait to observe yesterday. Too much to excitement, not enough play time.

Potash 28-33 cpm often with deviation both ways
Exposed TIG for was as pictured mid 500's cpm.
Background was 11-15 cpm

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It does some graph views to so that's nice, the full manual had to be downloaded. It only came with a bare bones start up instructions. The battery is lasting forever so it barely dinged it after hours of use.

I'd say the detector was worth finding a vase in our living room to be wary of. Everything else is bonus at this point. I've no plans to stockpile or extract, but a couple samples bought and a couple found would be nice.

Owning any samples should mean owning a cheap detector. They're not bad cost wise, for the peace of mind they offer.

violet sin - 19-10-2020 at 19:28

Ordered some cheap tubes from LND in newyork, the 713(b,g), 712(a,b,g).

"The 712 is the cheapest mica window alpha detector we make", to quote bill in sales. There is no paper catalog, only online, and you have to inquire for price, no pdf or spreadsheet etc.

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They are pretty small which is nice for addition to my current device. 48$ / 60$ respectively, and they had a 100$ min order so it worked out good. 10 days to ship out after order, I'm happy with them for sure. They run suggested @500v as opposed to the M4011 tube in it now @380v. So it's not 100% plug and play, but worth the effort.

I'll have alpha sensing capabilities after a good build. Someone has already installed a 712 on the GQ forum. they are used in several wands Ive seen for sale online. I don't think the 713 was used there, but it's small enough it could piggyback easily enough.

Getting to learn along the way is fun.

TriiodideFrog - 26-10-2020 at 00:56

Granite is easily available and is radioactive
Otherwise, you can try to get some smoke detectors. They contain americium in them.

violet sin - 18-3-2021 at 14:43

This is not granite, lol, and it is through lead sheet.

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Thorianite, ordered from Michael at minresco.com
It was packed in a MUCH bigger box obviously. I look forward to being able to purchase other samples later. Guess they acquired a new wolframite mine too. Always loved the colors of that stuff.

(Whoops) it was a wulfenite source, not wolframite. The former is nice red/Orange. The latter is apparently much less attractive dark, sometimes metallic mineral. So saying I loved the colors would be silly.

[Edited on 19-3-2021 by violet sin]

violet sin - 21-3-2021 at 09:00

Here are a couple pics that could be integrated with my above posts. I got some time to fiddle with the sample and take a look at the actual minerals giving such high numbers.

Pictures of angry pebbles!


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Deathunter88 - 21-3-2021 at 20:45

Probably an unpopular opinion but I feel you need at least a 2" pancake detector to have a fun time prospecting for radioactive minerals. The large surface area means you don't need to get close to every rock. Look for a PalmRad, Ranger Alert, Inspector Alert on eBay and they can be had for around 300USD. A step up would be something like a Ludlum with a scintillation probe, but those are 500USD and up.

violet sin - 11-4-2021 at 09:25

The collection is growing. I've ordered samples of minerals from several vendors.

1) Minresco.com more than a year ago,
2) nuclear scientific, small pebbles and one small grit
3) mineresco.com this year also from the new owner, Michael Shannon.
4) Etsy from arizona explorations (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArizonaExplorations?ref=simple-sho...)
5) and finally from bonanza site Rockhound_Steve (https://www.bonanza.com/booths/Rockhound_Steve)

The last site purchase was made too recently to judge anything from.

I liked the first interaction with (1), I got a cool laminated ID card for the minerals. First go around w/ new owner (3) was successful and easy for thorianite, but the second inquiry was less satisfying, Michael is BUSY right now. The inventory was not available but still listed for the uranium minerals book. I tentatively asked about when the website might be updated or an actual priority... Think I pissed him off. Just trying to be realistic so I don't bug someone. We are people, life happens, my money doesn't secure the right to be pushy, but I can ask for a better time to check in = said site fixed in maybe 1-5 years :( he has to merge his horde and the purchased flats from minresco and has only one employee, so it's totally understandable, I'm not trying to offer insult at all.

(2) Nuclear scientific was easy peasy, nice vials of rock. It's not much to look at, and your forbidden from messing with the samples chemically refining etc. So some of its a mere curiosity/check source.

(4) etsy purchase from arizona explorations was cool. Some nice bits. I did not care for the shipping method. The samples are fragile and spent some time rubbing on interior of their box = flat spot in an interesting portion of the rock :( also if you don't plan on physically touching your samples... Hahahah, they are taped over each end of box not around circumference of the lid = grit... Grit everywhere, alpha emitting grit, open the parcel out side. Padded envelope, interior plastic envelope, double gang metal outlet box for electrical wiring of a house, nice move. Clunky, but safe.

I'm patiently waiting for the last fellow to ship. man he has some at a great price for the size. Good colors, some banding, numerous types.

Things I've noticed. 1) look at what device they use to claim activities... Huge! A ludlum 3 with 44-9 pancake probe definitely sees more than an GQ GMC-320+ good grief. Aka 20k CPM => ~1k CPM. The last buyer I hit up uses a ludlum 2200 rate meter not sure of the probe.

Everyone basically has you acknowledge your not going to refine or concentrate the natural minerals. So buying to do chem might not be the best thing. Seems like it leaves your tail in the door so to speak. I am adding to the mineral collection, not doing chem with these, but others may seem them for different reasons, be aware of your limitations via residence locale.

Etsy buy from arizona explorations. Came super quick, looks nice, could have been padded a touch better between interior cardboard box and mineral, but I'm happy for sure.
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I also headed out to the fam ranch and tested some shale banks, no love... My uncle was A-OK with the lack of radiation on our property. But I did find a nice calcite crystal in with cruddy ones and some weird tube concretions, was fun. My son spent the time beating up the ground/rocks and banks with a stick. We had fun.

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Mailinmypocket - 12-4-2021 at 11:14

Very nice!! I’ve been searching for some radioactive rocks here in the Ottawa, Canada area and let me tell you.... there ain’t much!

I just ordered a SBT-11 tube for my GMC-320 counter and am looking forward to seeing if the higher sensitivity tube changes anything at all... gotta love COVID boredom purchases :D

Speaking of calcite... I found this enormous crystal that tumbled out from the wall of a gravel quarry years and years ago..



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[Edited on 12-4-2021 by Mailinmypocket]

violet sin - 14-4-2021 at 10:25

SBT-11 NICE! That sounds fun and should be a direct plug and play if memory serves. I saw something on the GQ forum about being careful not to saturate the big counters on small machines or something. Because they are more sensitive, it's easier to max it out for the counter. 320+ has a lower count rate limit than the GM tube. Hope you can get some readings off low level stuff more favorably showing up off fertilizer or granite. My 320+ didn't see anything sp cual about counter tops. It's all stated here, better than I can remember. https://www.gqelectronicsllc.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=40...

I look forward to seeing it all assembled and clicking away :)

What a chunky crystal! Beautiful! It just fell out and laid at the bottom of the gravel pit? Woulda though it's nice enough for a trucker to snag. Ours are MUCH smaller. Sometimes clear-ish but this is the first real clear guy I've found. Maybe 1/16" though. The frosty ones often fluoresce orange/salmon/pink color and on occasion yellow. A big slab of it can be flashed with a flashlight to write, it fades fast though. Almost immediately. Looking forward to going out there again soon.

I've several GM tubes ordered back in February that haven't shown up yet. From GSTube.com outta ukraine I believe. Got high centered on March 8th no check in since. Mailed the seller and he's writing an email to see what's going on. So that project(s) will have to wait. Been destin my the pcb from a schematic online for my own clicker see if it can work.

My covid boredom purchases are gonna get me in trouble. I don't have any more science budget for a while now. A WHILE. Purchased a Si-8b GM tube from seller on bonanza ... Attached to a ludlum 3... what comes with 4 lbs of minerals too...

And all because I almost bought a thermal camera (man toy) I've been wanting for years, that was on sale, but the price approached that of an actual tool. I could see that thing never getting used.

Turns out one of the sellers I bought from was/is a federal employee, trained to use a geiger counter for DHS. He had some good information on the do's and don'ts. Make yellow cake sure, not a problem. Affect any change in the isotopic balance is felony. Leaching minerals for natural uranium all peachy. Taking a purchased certified disc source, break open and add to another disk source is felony. General chem ok, critical mass not. It all stands to reason. Good thing I don't plan on selling or shipping these minerals, the postage has some nuances. Contact robert from arizona explorations, he's a knowledgeable fellow. Plus, I'm sure he could use the business. We've exchanged a few emails and he's on the level.


Mailinmypocket - 18-4-2021 at 07:48

I'm excited to see how the GMC-320 responds to the new tube. It left the Ukraine a couple days ago so pretty soon we should get an idea of how it all comes together. The idea will be to have a wired probe so building an enclosure and connecting everything together might be a challenge since I have no 3D printer or soldering skills (both of which would make the task much easier) but oh well. At least I don't need to mess with the voltage or add resistors or anything like that. I'll update the GQ thread you quoted above (I'm actually "Radioman" over there!) since I'm not sure it's a totally relevant post for this thread.

The quarry is in a forest and the calcite crystals (there were many, mostly kiwi to baseball sized clear crystals) were in a layer of sand at the edge of the quarry, directly underneath the forest floor layer of organic material, it was very strange to find them just suspended in the sand...Too bad it's all fenced in with security people there. Back in the day it was less of a big operation and you could just walk in after hours and snoop around :(

Hopefully those tubes turn up or the seller can at least send more! A Ludlum 3, lucky!

A smaller member of the quarry calcite family:

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[Edited on 18-4-2021 by Mailinmypocket]

violet sin - 24-4-2021 at 02:54

Man, a bit frustrating on this end. That purchase for the ludlum 3 and a couple rocks off Bonanza stagnated and was just sitting there unappreciated. 14 and 11 days respectively, passed since payment. Meaning though the money cleared days ago, week(s) in the case of my first purchase... No one even logged into the site to see that there WAS a purchase made since the 2nd of april.

I sent a couple emails off. Sent another several days later, and ended up having to call the guy up to get his attention, on my lunch break. Luckily hes at UNM( university of new mexico) and the PayPal email address brought me to his school where his phone number was listed. I was about to have PayPal close down the payment. It won't be here immediately, but the wheels are turning = good enough :) he did say it's(P3 pancake probe) sensitive enough to find U bearing minerals a foot under the surface of the ground. That is inspiring.

Emailed the seller from GSTubes.com and he still does not know, it's perhaps waiting to load up enough to send off at the shipping yard. My research into russian shipping seems like one of them things where it's ya know, a week or maybe 2 plus months... he confirmed and said it's first in last out, untill the pile is big enough nothing is sent. So still hoping for the best. He gets back to you in 24 hr almost every time, which is reassuring.

Between those two, the wallet hurts and it would be nice to see merchandise show up on the porch. But life keeps on ticking, a bit boringly at times, though ya can't complain about still drawing breath. It's a gift. Rambling and tired, I take my leave.

violet sin - 5-5-2021 at 21:36

Some samples :)

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I got a big package the other day. Two specific rocks, one of which was included :( the other mia and no email communication so far. There was an appropriately sized replacement, just the larger side of the first purpose bought rock. You can see the reflected pattern in the first pic. Little guy was like 33$ and spot on. Other was labeled tyuyamunite, Yeah I'm confused. The Ludlum 3 with P3 probe. 4# of rock what just came with the geiger counter because, awesome. an 8" fiesta ware plate, actual pictures of professor (*?) Steve Buggie on location all kinds of extra info. A bnc to ludlum c connection or something. I've had precious little time to inspect the nerd treasure chest. Some of the rocks are pretty, some are dull. Like 14 or so foil wrapped and activity labeled rocks. 8 or so left to unwrap.

That's the Rockhound_Steve guy on Bonanza.com/ User ID 
buggie4vrlhe on ebay, has cheap lumps of rock pretty affordably priced ... 6# lot of rocks for 30$ +13something $ shipping.

I have a hard time getting his attention though, the partial refund for combined shipping difference was fast. The Ludlum works great, probe is rad, capable of reading stuff from several feet away.

And somehow amazingly, the parcel from GSTubes, that spent most of March, all of April and some of May in Russian federation, just popped up on the usps radar in Queens NY. Well played, postal service, well played. Had me nervous since the order was placed end of Feb.

When I get the rocks unpacked I'll try to figure be some good pics. Think I'm good buying samples for a while. My whole collection fits inside a smaller styrofoam ice chest for shipping a ham, so, not so bad.

Edit
(*?) I was unaware that PhD title has a stigma around it, being called Dr. So and so perhaps is an unwelcome idea. The gentleman in question, has a PhD and did -not- refer to himself as Dr. It was my idea to do so, I thought it respectful to reference an achievement I don't have. Guess that a debatable opinion, and could reflect on that person in ways they may not care for. Whoops.

And after calling today, yes I had to, I'm not any more sure I'll see the rock I wanted . But what eves,

[Edited on 7-5-2021 by violet sin]

Mailinmypocket - 17-5-2021 at 11:53

Nice haul! I’m very jealous of that counter of yours! Maybe one day :P

Does anyone know of any Canadian sources of radioactive minerals? I’ve searched and searched but there doesn’t seem to be the options that there are in the US, it’s quite frustrating! I could buy some from the USA or overseas but it just adds an additional level of complexity to something that’s already complex.

On the plus side I finally received my SBT-11A tube, fun times!



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violet sin - 23-8-2021 at 20:52

I bought more Ore... And two special ones from the seller on bonanza, Steve.
Hands down best price. 30$ for 6lbs and like 15$ shipping. If you buy specific rocks at same time you save on shipping, almost 20$ this time. But... You spend over a hundo on hot rocks, like 150$.

Prices included for those that plan to buy samples in the future. Elsewhere a single rock could cost you 45$ +s/h and be super underwhelming in activity. United nuclear has some, sold out last I checked, that are exactly as mentioned 3-7k CPM for 45$. And there is nothing wrong with what they are doing... This is just better price.

I look forward to actually getting to spend some time with these samples and daylight. Eventually, there will be display boxes... I promise. Enjoy the pics for now.

(1) - the 135k CPM rock hits about 12k CPM by my GMC 320+ standards.

( * Side note * now imagine paying 45$ for one that only hits 3-7k CPM by fancy probe,,, measure with the GMC 320+ = frustration)

(2) - festive tin makes it just plain look like Christmas

(3) - assortment of rocks shoved in there ^^^ tiny foil wrapped gifts to your inner scientist. Complete with labels of specific activity on every one.

What you get from the grab bag besides physical U samples : Contrast and compare probes and machines to know what future sales from other sellers will seem like. Build comparison charts against his Ludlum 2200(?)(something like that) rate meter scaler with 44-9 probe. Dial in your 44-9 probe if your lucky enough to own one. If I'm not mistaken he uses an eberline pulser to calibrate his machines and those sold. So the descriptions are accurate. He also marks the fast activity areas with whiteout. Should be repeatable for others.

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Fun hobby if you ask me. Better if the rocks were found, not bought... He offers a guided tour if you make it to New Mexico. Too far away, like 17-19 hrs. One day though.

violet sin - 23-8-2021 at 23:19

(1) - laid out and sorted pile
(2) - big but only 19K CPM pic of active side
(3) - less active side of 28K CPM rock, flat and thin
(4) - active side with dot for hot area.

I intend to take a measurement from each side (3)/(4) and see how quickly signal is attenuated in matrix. Some is just crusty secondaries, very thin layers. some is matrix bound primary (black flecks) in unassuming rock.

The 3k CPM rock I opened ( not pictured) was nil on the colorful red sandstone side and hot on the ubiquitous honey brown side. There wasn't color or dark bits there. (Maybe UV would show something, but another time. Forum already ate one attempted post when previewing). And it only measured 350-360cpm on my gmc 320+ despite being a large rock.

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Only opened a couple, if others look interesting I'll try to add more photos less me.

violet sin - 4-9-2021 at 10:25

Mineral pics,

Not the easiest to photograph for me. But I got out the old stereoscope and shoved my phone up to it. Some details of the last lot of stones purchased.

1) I spotted blue mineral coming out of a few stones in small crystal flakes.
2) detail of stone in last pic
3) primary dark flecks(?) In matrix with secondary layers penetrating.
4) zoom out of same area, in general
5) point of a rock showing numerous minerals
6) close up of some secondary and calcite? Looks like calcite to me.
7) pinkish mineral associated with dark minerals and bright secondaries.
8) the colors pop with low light. Kinda boring from a distance, but neat up close.

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I want to make a test bed to orient odd shaped stones over the detector in a way so as to be able to read the display and have control of the orientation of detector to source. Dollar store selfie stick works ok. Pinch type grip works on the detector, not great for stones, leaves the display in odd positions. It's a process, I'll figure something out, half the fun.

mayko - 7-9-2021 at 18:51

I found this piece of blue apatite, which I bought at a hippy Crystals & Metaphysical Bumper Stickers store in the mountains. I wonder if they realized how spicy it is (10-20 cps by my geiger counter). So sometimes you don’t have to look for explicitly radioactive minerals like pitchblend, but those that happen to often contain traces of radioactive elements

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These sort of count as minerals


The woods behind my house were grown over an old landfill, and there’s stuff not far below the ground that sometimes floats to the surface. There was one spot that had a lot of old bricks, which was pretty useful. Another had a bunch of broken glass and old bottles and jars half-buried and incubating mosquito larvae. I was poking through the detritus when I saw a piece of clear green glass with a distinctive textured design; I was certain, looking at it, that it was uranium glass. Sure enough, it fluoresced bright green and was slightly radioactive (a piece would typically measure ~10-50 cps). I went back at night with my UV flashlight and unearthed more than a pound total of uranium glass shards. I also met another person out digging in the glass pile for cool bottles, and we had a sort of pen pal correspondence through a jar that we’d leave notes in for one another.

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I also found a couple of pieces of ceramic, which appears to have a radioactive glaze of some sort. It’s not the usual orange/red fiestaware, but looks green-tinted and is
fluorescent. The small piece is ~30-60 cps.

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For reference, my smoke detector americium source is ~20-50 cps from within a prescription pill bottle, and a 1% thoriated rod is ~0.5-2 cps.

Along the way I also found these bits of glass, which fluoresce but with a yellow-green rather than apple green and they’re untinted except for solarization. Not radioactive, but kind of cool looking!

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