|Category Vanadate mineral|
Strunz classification 4.HB.05
Space group P21/a
(repeating unit) K2(UO2)2
Crystal system Monoclinic
|Crystal class Prismatic (2/m) (same H-M symbol)|
Carnotite is a potassium uranium vanadate radioactive mineral with chemical formula K2(UO2)2(VO4)2·3H2O. The water content can vary and small amounts of calcium, barium, magnesium, iron, and sodium are often present.
Carnotite is a bright to greenish yellow mineral that occurs typically as crusts and flakes in sandstones. Amounts as low as one percent will color the sandstone a bright yellow. The high uranium content makes carnotite an important uranium ore and also radioactive. It is a secondary vanadium and uranium mineral usually found in sedimentary rocks in arid climates.
In the United States it is an important ore of uranium in the Colorado Plateau region of the United States where it occurs as disseminations in sandstone and concentrations around petrified logs. It also occurs in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. It also occurs incidentally in Grants, New Mexico and Carbon County, Pennsylvania.
Carnotite is reported in Congo (Kinshasa), Morocco, Australia (Radium Hill) and Kazakhstan. In Pakistan carnotite occurs in the Upper Miocene middle Siwaliks sandstone (Dhokpathan Formation), in the vicinity of Takhat Nasrati, Karak District.
Name and discovery
The mineral was first described in 1899 by French scientists M. M. C. Freidel and E. Cumenge, who identified it in specimens from Roc Creek in Montrose County, Colorado, United States. It is named for Marie Adolphe Carnot (1839 - 1920), French mining engineer and chemist.
Related mineral species
Several related mineral species exist, including: margaritasite ((Cs,K,H3O)2(UO2)(VO4)2·H2O) and tyuyamunite, (Ca(UO2)2(VO4)2·5-8H2O).