Database of luminescent Minerals


Chemical Formula: CaCO3

Familly: Carbonates

Status: IMA-GP

Crystal System: Orthorhombic

Mineral for Display: Yes

Associated names (luminescent varieties, discredited names, synonymes etc.):  flos ferrinicholsonitestrontio-aragonitemossottitetarnowitziteammoliteseptariapearlktypeiteErzbergite


UV Type Main color Intensity Observation Frequency
Long Waves (365nm):      Yellowish White StrongVery often
Mid waves (320 nm):      Pink
Short Waves (254 nm):      Bluish White MediumVery often
Other colors LW:                                                            
White , Bluish White , Pinkish White , Orange , Orange Red , Red , Violet red , Violet Pink , Pink , Salmon pink , Blue , Greenish white ,
Other colors MW:                                                            
White , Bluish White , Yellowish White , Pinkish White , Pale Yellow , Orange Red , Red , Violet red , Violet Pink , Salmon pink , Greenish white , Yellowish ,
Other colors SW:                                                                                
White , Bluish White , Yellowish White , Pinkish White , Pale Yellow , Orange , Orange Red , Red , Violet red , Violet Pink , Pink , Salmon pink , Yellowish Green , Green , Greenish white , Yellowish ,

Long Waves Picture (365nm)

ARAGONITE, Sicily, Italy.
OL (365 nm)
Col. G.Barmarin; Photo: G. Barmarin

Short Waves Pictures (254nm)

ARAGONITE, Sicily, Italy.
OC (254 nm)
Col. G.Barmarin; Photo: G. Barmarin


Galerie de photos:


     To the gallery (8 images in the gallery)

Phosphorescence (in the common meaning of the term) seen by naked eye:

UV Type Color Intensity Observation Frequency
Long Wave (365nm): Greenish white StrongOften
Mid Waves (320 nm): Greenish white StrongOften
Short Waves (254 nm): Greenish white StrongOften

Thermoluminescence: Yes


Kunz and Baskerville noted that aragonite fluoresces often strongly during their memorable investigation of 13000 mineral specimens in 1903.

Main Activator(s) and spectrum:

Most Common Activator: Mn2+

Other activators:            (UO2)2+ (Uranyl ion) as impurities , Organic impurities , Ce3+ , Sm3+ , Eu3+ , Dy3+ , Radiation induced centers ,

Peaks in the spectrum (nm):

  Sm3+ repl. Ca2+ : 603, 640nm 

  Mn2+ : broad band at 630nm (120nm half-width) 

  Dy3+ : 482, 486, 578, 579nm 

  Radiation induced center : 580nm (very short decay time of approximately 20 ns)

Spectrum: Michael Gaft, Petah Tikva, Israel. Plot: Institute of Mineralogy, University of Vienna, Austria, with permission of the authors.


  To the spectrum gallery (3 spectra in the gallery)

Comments on activators and spectra:

Fluo green: due to U in traces;
Activators: Mn2+, Sm3+, Dy3+ (Gaft)
The broad luminescence band peaking at 580 nm with very short decay time of approximately 20 ns, could by analogy with Terlingua-type calcite may be preliminarily ascribed to radiation induced luminescence center. (Gaft)

Under cw laser excitation at 532 and 780nm several bands and narrow lines have been found in visible and IR parts of the spectrum. Evidently they may be connected with another type of Mn2+, trivalent REE, such as Sm3+, Eu3+ and different types of Nd3+ centers. The origin of the broad band peaking at approximately 700 nm needs further study.

The frequent occurrence of slight amounts of Strontium in aragonite was known during the time of Becquerel and he ascribed the luminescence to the presence of strontium. Later, Nichols confirmed the idea. Hence the name strontioaragonite for some specimen of very bright red fluorescing aragonite. 

Actually, strontium is not considered anymore as the activator responsable for the red fluorescence of aragonite and  Mn and REE are considered as the principal activators of this red fluorescence.

Best Locality for luminescence(*):

(*)Data are not exhaustive and are limited to the most important localities for fluorescence

Bibliographical Reference for luminescence:

Luminescence Reference on internet:

Mineralogical Reference on internet:

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Note: While all due attention has been paid to the implementation of the database, it may contain errors and/or accidental omissions. By nature, the database will always be incomplete because science always evolves according to new analysis.
A request providing no result means only that no such reference exists in the database, but it does not mean that what you are looking for does not exist, just not to our knowledge. If you think you have found an error or omission, please let us know via the contact page being sure to cite the source of information.


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