Willemite with Sphalerite Fluorescing in Ultra Violet Light Sterling Mine Ogdensburg New Jersey

- Image ID: B0T06K
Phil Degginger / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: B0T06K
Willemite is a zinc silicate mineral (Zn2SiO4) and a minor ore of zinc. It is highly fluorescent (green) under shortwave ultraviolet light. It occurs in all different colors in daylight, in fibrous masses, solid brown masses ("troostite"), and apple green gemmy masses. Willemite is usually formed as an alteration of previously existing sphalerite ore bodies, and is usually associated with limestone. It occurs in many places, but is best known from Arizona and the zinc, iron, manganese deposits at Franklin and Sterling Hill Mines in New Jersey. It often occurs with red zincite (zinc oxide) and franklinite (Fe,Mn,Zn)(Fe,Mn)2O4 (an iron rich zinc mineral occurring in sharp black isometric octahedral crystals and masses). Franklinite and zincite are not fluorescent. Fluorescence is a luminescence that is mostly found as an optical phenomenon in cold bodies, in which the molecular absorption of a photon triggers the emission of a photon with a longer (less energetic) wavelength. The energy difference between the absorbed and emitted photons ends up as molecular rotations, vibrations or heat. Sometimes the absorbed photon is in the ultraviolet range, and the emitted light is in the visible range, but this depends on the absorbance curve and Stokes shift of the particular fluorophore.