Meta-torbernite is a dehydration product of its close cousin, torbernite, hence the name. When the mineral torbernite loses water and converts to meta-torbernite, it usually undergoes pseudomorphism. A pseudomorph is generally an atom by atom replacement of one mineral's chemistry to form another mineral. The process leaves the crystal shape of the original mineral intact. Pseudomorph means false (pseudo) shape (morph). In this case, the conversion is not so dramatic since it involves only the loss of a few water molecules; therefore, a good pseudomorph is likely. The conversion is irreversible and ongoing, and all collection specimens of a certain age are almost certainly partially to totally converted. If accuracy is demanded, all torbernite collection pieces of a few years of age should be labeled as meta-torbenite.

The structure of meta-torbernite is composed of phosphate tetrahedrons linked to uranium-oxygen groups that form distorted octahedrons. The phosphates and uranium groups lie in sheets that are weakly held together by water molecules. This structure produces the tabular habit, the one perfect direction of cleavage, and the relative softness.

Remember, this is a radioactive mineral and should be stored away from other minerals that are affected by radioactivity and human exposure should always be limited.


  • Colors are various shades of pale to dark green to almost black.
  • Luster is vitreous to dull.
  • Transparency crystals are translucent to opaque.
  • Crystal System is tetragonal; 4/m 2/m 2/m
  • Crystal Habits include tabular square crystals dominated by two pinacoid faces. Crystals can form in parallel growths giving a "stacked book" kind of look. Also as crusts, micaceous, foliated and scaly aggregates. Almost all meta-torbernite crystals are pseudomorphs of torbernite.
  • Cleavage is perfect in one direction.
  • Fracture is uneven.
  • Hardness is 2.5
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 3.7 (above average for translucent minerals)
  • Streak is a pale green.
  • Associated Minerals are autunite, uranophane, uranocircite, torbernite, uraninite and other uranium minerals.
  • Other Characteristics: radioactive, and cleavage sheets are surprisingly brittle.
  • Notable Occurences include Cornwall, England; Athabasca, Saskatchewan, Canada; Shaba, Zaire; Saxony, Germany and France.
  • Best Field Indicators are color, crystal habit, non-fluorescence, higher density than torbernite, radioactivity, associations, and brittle cleavage sheets.
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META-TORBERNITE specimen met-1
$ 75.00
Dims: 1-5/8" x 1-3/8" x 1"
Wt: 1.24 oz
Musonoi Open Pit, Shaba Province, Zaire
This specimen from the famous Zairean locality at Shaba boasts deep green, tabular prisms that measure up to about 1/8 inch in diameter. The crystals are packed tightly enough to form a crust over part of the host rock's surface, and veins of the mineral can be seen invading it on the rest of the surface. The green color is very pretty, and though the crystal form isn't highly defined, it is easily discernable, and almost produces a "moss" effect. Besides, it's radioactive, and that's really cool(or, HOT)!
no photo
met-1 ($ 75.00)
Musonoi Open Pit, Shaba Province, Zaire
META-TORBERNITE specimen met-2
$ 50.00
Dims: 2-1/2" x 1-1/16" x 1/4"
Wt: 14.1 g2-1/2
(near Crown King) Bradshaw Mts., Yavapai Co., Arizona, U.S.A.
This little specimen consists of tiny, opaque, grass-green crystals of Meta-torbernite spread on a chalky, black and yellow matrix like green sawdust. It is difficult but not impossible to determine individual crystals with the naked eye. It is most impressive that this specimen comes from Arizona, which is not a place known for producing such material.
no photo
met-2 ($ 50.00)
(near Crown King) Bradshaw Mts., Yavapai Co., Arizona, U.S.A.
META-TORBERNITE specimen met-4
$ 49.00
Dims: 3.4 x 2.2 x 0.9" (8.7 x 5.7 x 2.2 cm)
Wt: 3.1 oz. (88 g)
near Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Maricopa County, Arizona, U.S.A.
Scores of tiny pale-green Metatorbernite tablets are scattered on the chalky, mica-laden base of this small cabinet specimen. These blades do not exceed 1 or 2 mm in diameter but are in very good condition. Their tetragonal tabular form is standard for the specie and denotes pseudomorphism from torbernite. All have a pale green coloration and a pearly luster, and are translucent.
no photo
met-4 ($ 49.00)
near Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Maricopa County, Arizona, U.S.A.
META-TORBERNITE specimen met-3
$ 78.00
Dims: 2.1 x 1.6 x 0.5" (5.4 x 4.2 x 1.3 cm)
Wt: 1.0 oz. (27 g)
near Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Yavapai County, Arizona, U.S.A.
Hundreds of tiny Metatorbernites cover part of the pale brown base of this hand specimen. These crystals do not exceed 1 mm in diameter but are generally in excellent condition and have excellent tetragonal tabular form. Their grass-green color is paler than that of torbernite, though their pearly luster is nearly the same, and they are translucent.
no photo
met-3 ($ 78.00)
near Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Yavapai County, Arizona, U.S.A.
META-TORBERNITE specimen met-6
$ 108.00
Dims: 2.3 x 1.7 x 1.5" (5.9 x 4.3 x 3.8 cm)
Wt: 2.8 oz. (79 g)
Musonoi Extension, Shaba Province, Zaire
A cluster of 20 or 30 Meta-Torbernite tablets rests on the pale base rock of this hand specimen. These tabular crystals reach diameters of 0.2" (5 mm) and are in moderately good condition; oddly, the largest crystals are intact and the smaller ones are damaged or broken. All have the standard tetragonal tabular form, though the crystals seem to be slightly aggregated besides their intersection. All have the standard forest-green coloration and pearly-to-vitreous luster and are at least dimly transparent. There appear to be 2 distinct minerals present, as there are 2 different crystalline habits and 2 different shades of green visible. Along with these is a massive, dull black material that I cannot identify- it may be some sort of uranium mineral.
no photo
met-6 ($108.00)
Musonoi Extension, Shaba Province, Zaire
META-TORBERNITE specimen met-5
$ 25.00
Dims: 1.3 x 1.3 x 1.1" (3.4 x 3.4 x 2.7 cm)
Wt: 1.3 oz. (36 g)
near Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Maricopa County, Arizona, U.S.A.
A dusting of tiny Meta-torbernite crystals rests on the quartz base of this hand specimen. These crystals appear to be in excellent condition and are tiny, not reaching 1 mm in diameter. All have the standard pale green color and pearly luster of their specie, and - when studied through a loupe - show the classic tetragonal tabular form. The base, upon closer study, actually appears to be a mixture of white granite or syenite and layers of intensely-packed quartz crystals.
no photo
met-5 ($ 25.00)
near Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Maricopa County, Arizona, U.S.A.
META-TORBERNITE specimen met-7
$ 30.00
Dims:3.1x1.7x1.1" (7.9x4.3x2.8 cm)
Wt: 3.4oz. (95g)
Near Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Yavapai cty., Arizona
This specimen consists of a crust of meta-torbernite crystals partially covering one face of a light-colored host rock. The host rock is embedded with flakes of mica and blebs of quartz. A few meta-torbernite crystals are visible when viewed with a standard 10x loupe; the characteristic tetragonal form is evident when viewed thus.
no photo
met-7 ($ 30.00)
Near Crown King, Bradshaw Mountains, Yavapai cty., Arizona
META-TORBERNITE specimen met-8
$ 60.00
Dims:1.9x1.9x1.7" (4.8x4.8x4.3 cm)
Wt: 3.2oz. (90g)
Musonoie Mine, Kolwezi, Zaire
Vugs in the matrix of this specimen are filled with dark green sheaves of metatorbernite crystals. These crystals show excellent form. When i examined this specimen with a loupe, I could only find 2 crystals (out of dozens) that were chipped. This lack of damage is unusual for these slender, fragile plates. This , then, is an excellent specimen.
no photo
met-8 ($ 60.00)
Musonoie Mine, Kolwezi, Zaire


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