Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Mineral resource of the month: rare earths

January 1, 2013

As if classified as a top-secret project, the rare earths have been shrouded in secrecy. The principal ore mineral of the group, bastnäsite, rarely appears in the leading mineralogy texts. The long names of the rare-earth elements and some unusual arrangements of letters, many Scandinavian in origin, may have intimidated even those skilled in phonics. Somewhat obscurely labeled, the rare earths are neither rare nor earths (the historical term for oxides). They are a relatively abundant group of metallic elements that occur in nature as nonmetallic compounds and have hundreds of commercial applications.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2004
Title Mineral resource of the month: rare earths
Authors James B. Hedrick
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geotimes
Series Number
Index ID 70044853
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Minerals Information Center