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Posted in response to Re: Rock that glowed at night from Don Mello on May 06, 2008 at 08:02:01:

Re: Re: Rock that glowed at night

There are no naturally occurring radioactive minerals that are spontaneous luminescent. Salts of materials like radium or polonium are, but they exist in such miniscule amounts, that the luminescence would never be visible. Marie Curie loved the blue glow emitted from the radium bromide sample she carried in her lab coat pocket, until it eventually killed her. Since Curie had to process tons of pitchblende in order to get a few hundred milligrams of radium bromide, I think we can rule out radioactive deposits as the source of luminescence.

Glow worms are an intriguing idea, but I think if it was a moon-lit night, the reflection of the light off of microscopic xls of mica is as good an explanation as any. The other kinds of bioluminescence that you speak of -the glow from dinoflagellates, or jellyfish in the water, or from a luminescent fungus like armillaria mellea, the honey mushroom, or "foxfire", as it's known in the appalachians, are extremely unlikely candidates. The former lives in a marine environment, while the latter grows mostly on dead and decaying wood, and on the bread agar that I use to cultivate it in my lab. It could not survive on a rock.


From Dr. Art Friedman - July 04, 2008 at 11:53:52

Message: 66695

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