A dashing Davidite-La from its TL – the Radium Hill Mine, in the Olary Province of South Australia.

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Davidite-La has a hardness of 6 and a specific gravity of 4.33 – 4.48. Davidite-La was named in 1906 by Douglas Mawson after Professor Tannat William Edegeworth David, the man who discovered the Greta Coal Seam and the first known pre-Cambrian fossils, and the “-La” was added to indicate its dominant REE, as you can also find Davidite-Ce & Davidite-Y. While accompanying Ernest Shackleton on the first Antarctic Expedition, David led the first ascent of Mount Erebus and discovered the Magnetic South Pole. He also served during World War I with high distinction as well as valor, and, according to Mindat, “Among many noteworthy achievements was his organization of scientific societies.”

It seems to have been found in 32 localities worldwide so far including one in Arizona and one in Connecticut, but none in Colorado – yet…

While Lanthanum is three times more abundant in the earth’s crust than lead, Lanthanum isn’t the dominant element in very many minerals, and extracting it from the ore is quite the difficult and involved process as it usually comes from Monazite and Bastnäsite and is mixed with the other REEs. Its first historical application was documented to be in gas mantle lanterns, and it’s now utilized in a wide variety of applications. The price for a metric ton of Lanthanum is currently around $1,600-5,000/metric ton, but in 2011, it was as high as $140,000, so keep your eye out for a rock that looks like this in case the price goes back up again!


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