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Polonium is created from Pitchblende or Uranium Ore Uraninite
when Uranite and Thorium is removed. The Element is Numbered 084 and is named after Poland where Marie Curie was born.




Polonium is an Element of the World



Polonium is a rare radioactive metalloid.[1] It is chemical element 84 on the periodic table and its symbol is Po. It was discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie.

Polonium is highly unstable, radioactive and toxic. This makes it difficult to handle. It can be dangerous, even in very small amounts. One gram of Po will self-heat to a temperature of about 500 °C (932 °F). It also vaporizes easily.

Polonium has 33 isotopes, and all of them are radioactive. It is a very rare element in nature because of its short half-life. It is a breakdown product of uranium, so it is found in uranium ores.

The former Russian secret service agent Alexander Litvinenko was murdered by having a tiny amount of polonium put into a drink.[2][3]


  1. "Characterizing the Elements". Los Alamos National Laboratory. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  2. Geoghegan, Tom (2006-11-24). "The mystery of Litvinenko's death". BBC News.
  3. "UK requests Lugovoi extradition". BBC News. 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2009-05-05.




Pitchblende schlema-alberoda.JPG

Pitchblende from Niederschlema-Alberoda deposit, Germany



Oxide minerals

(repeating unit)

Uranium dioxide or uranium(IV) oxide (UO2)

Strunz classification


Crystal symmetry

Isometric, hexoctahedral
H-M symbol: (4/m32/m)
Space group: F m3m

Unit cell

a = 5.4682 Å; Z = 4



Steel-black to velvet-black, brownish black, pale gray to pale green; in transmitted light, pale green, pale yellow to deep brown

Crystal habit

Massive, botryoidal, granular. Octahedral crystals uncommon.

Crystal system





Conchoidal to uneven

Mohs scale hardness



Submetallic, greasy, dull


Brownish black, gray, olive-green


Opaque; transparent in thin fragments

Specific gravity

10.63–10.95; decreases on oxidation

Optical properties


Other characteristics

Radioactive: greater than 70 Bq/g



Major varieties



Pitchblende is a radioactive, uranium-rich mineral and ore. It has a chemical composition that is largely UO2, but also contains UO3 and oxides of lead, thorium, and rare earth elements. It is known as pitchblende due to its black color and high density. It is also commonly referred to as Uraninite. The mineral has been known at least since the 15th century from silver mines in the Ore Mountains, on the German/Czech border. Pitchblende found in Germany was used by M. Klaproth in 1789 to discover the element uranium.[5]

Pitchblende contains a small amount of radium as a radioactive decay product of uranium. Because the uranium isotopes 238U and 235U will decay to form the lead isotopes 206Pb and 207Pb, pitchblende also always contains small amounts of lead. Small amounts of helium are also present in pitchblend as a result of alpha decay. Helium was first found on Earth in pitchblende after having been discovered in the Sun's atmosphere.




Uraninite crystals from Topsham, Maine (size: 2.7×2.4×1.4 cm)

Pitchblende is a major ore of uranium. Some of the highest grade uranium ores in the world were found in the Shinkolobwe mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the initial source for the Manhattan Project) and in the Athabasca Basin in northern Canada. Another important source of pitchblende is at Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada, where it is found in large quantities associated with silver. It also occurs in Australia, Germany, England, and South Africa. In the United States it can be found in the states of New Hampshire, Connecticut, North Carolina, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

Uranium ore is generally processed close to the mine into yellowcake, which is an intermediate step in the processing of uranium.

Related pages


  1. Klein, Cornelis and Cornelius S. Hurlbut, Jr., Manual of Mineralogy, Wiley, 1985, 20th ed. pp. 307–308 ISBN 0-471-80580-7
  2. Anthony, John W.; Bideaux, Richard A.; Bladh, Kenneth W. and Nichols, Monte C., ed. "Uraninite" (PDF). Handbook of Mineralogy. III (Halides, Hydroxides, Oxides). Chantilly, VA, US: Mineralogical Society of America. ISBN 0-9622097-2-4. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  3. Uraninite.
  4. Uraninite.
  5. Schüttmann, W. (1998). "Das Erzgebirge und sein Uran". RADIZ-Information 16: 13–34.




Cat Drivers Elements of the World

Chemical Elements



Jefferson Lab

Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, New Mexico 
The Elements

Los Alamos National Laboratory Polonium



Royal Society of Chemistry

Web Elements



Las Vegas


Las Vegas
Alfred Balciunas

Cat Drivers Elements of the World