What Is Tranquillityite?

Featured Image:  A microscope image of a thin slice of coarse-grained basalt collected from the Sea of Tranquility by the Apollo 11 astronauts. Photo by Birger Rasmussen

 

Sure you have your meteorites that come crashing into our world with a burning rage of fire that’s quite attention-getting. Yeah, you have Moldavite, the one of a kind tektite that can be cut into gemstones.

But did you know there is a type of gem/mineral that was brought back from the Apollo 11 Moon Mission? They brought back hundreds of pounds of lunar souvenirs that geologists got to study.  And three minerals were found that were only unique to the moon.

The mineral I am talking about is Tranquillityite. The other two are Pyroxferroite and Armalcolite. Those two have also been found on earth but Tranquillityite never has been found here before except in meteorite samples. Update---In 2011 Tranquillityite was found in Western Australia. 

The astronauts went to the moon, as we all know, and they collected rock samples from a place called Mare Tranquillitati, translated as the Sea of Tranquility.

Tranquillityite is a silicate mineral mix-up with iron, oxygen, silicon, zirconium and titanium with small doses of calcium and yttrium which happens to be a rare earth element.

I came across this really cool stone by reading an article about a guy who proposed to his fiancee with the coolest wedding ring ever. The ring was printed on a 3D printer and came with Tranquillityite. Pretty darn awesome. Read up on the article here.

But if you want a piece of this cool stone, you don’t have to plan a trip to the moon to get it. A discovery in 2011 of this same mineral was found in Australia. As far as I know right now, it’s not on the market, or if so, it’s very, very rare.

I recently acquired a specimen from Australia and that will be in a separate blog post.