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Glowing Rocks!

Updated on November 30, 2016

Glowing rocks

Beautiful rock with multiple colors in SW UV light.
Beautiful rock with multiple colors in SW UV light.
Scheelite an ore of tungsten with intense blue color in SW UV light.
Scheelite an ore of tungsten with intense blue color in SW UV light.
Fluorescent minerals from New York State
Fluorescent minerals from New York State

Mineral luminescence

Rocks that glow or fluoresce.There are four luminescent properties that minerals can exhibit.Fluorescence,triboluminescence,tenebrescence and thermoluminesence.These are all physical processes which minerals exhibit when exposed to different activators.Fluorescent minerals will give off a glow when they are exposed to shortwave ultraviolet light or longwave ultraviolet light.The colors and combination of colors is amazing.The beauty is truly one of the wonders of the mineral kingdom.Fluorescence in minerals has useful purposes also.It has been used in mining as some ores have a glow to them.This was a way of separating good ore from scrap rock.Also the study of fluorescent minerals led to the making of color TV screens.

Another property called triboluminescence can make rocks glow.When certain rocks are scratched,crushed ect...they emit a small amount of light.This property can be see with the mineral sphalerite and also tremolite.When you rub two pieces of tremolite together it will give of sparkes of an orange color.

Tenebrescence is yet another luminescent property.Some rocks actually can change color when exposed to ultraviolet light,the sunlight or darkness.One mineral which often exhibits this property is hackmanite.It develops a red,pink color when exposed to SW UV light.Some hackmanite will also turn red/pink in sunlight if left there over time.And the opposite effect can happen in other hackmanite where the color will fade in sunlight.

Thermoluminescence is a property which causes a mineral to glow when heated.Some fluorite will glow when exposed to heat.Chlorophane which is a variety of fluorite will sometimes glow after you hold it in your hand.It is so sensitive that the heat from your hand can make it glow.

So yes rocks can and do glow.

Franklin NJ

Franklin Mineral Museum:
Franklin Mineral Museum Inc, 32 Evans St, Franklin, NJ 07416-1419, USA

get directions

A nice museum and fee collecting site.

Franklin Mineral Museum

A good place to start is the Franklin Mineral Museum if you would like to learn and see fluorescent minerals.

Sterling Hill Mine

he Sterling Hill Mine, now known as the Sterling Hill Mine Tour & Museum of Fluorescence, is a f:
Ogdensburg, NJ, USA

get directions

This is a must see museum and old mine workings.Fluorescent minerals are featured in the museum and can be collected in the old mining area.


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is very interesting. I knew that some rocks glowed under flourescent lighting but had no idea that just holding some in your hands or rubbing them together could also cause that. Thanks for this informative hub.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      This is amazing! So happy I found this hub. The photos are gorgeous. A big thanks and voted UP!


    • glowingrocks profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from New York

      Thank you meteoboy.There are other luminescent properties besides the four listed.Maybe a revision for this article?

    • meteoboy profile image


      7 years ago from GREECE

      Nice article , I did not know about , the four luminescent properties of minerals and the physical processes of them . Thank you for sharing with us.


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