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TITLE: Sterling Hill Mine

Deep in the hills of New Jersey lie two of the world’s most unusual mines: Sterling Hill and nearby Franklin. A greater variety of minerals has been found here than at any other deposit, and 35 of Sterling’s minerals aren’t found anywhere else. The mines were a major source of zinc from the 1880s until they closed—Franklin mine in 1954, Sterling Hill mine in 1986.

[Illustration: Tunnels and shafts of Sterling Hill Mine extending 777 m (2,550 ft) deep.]

[Photo: Rocks under normal light.]

Visible Light

Minerals That Glow in the Dark
When certain materials are exposed to invisible ultraviolet light, they give off visible light. Franklin-Sterling Hill, New Jersey, is the fluorescent mineral capital of the world. Over 70 kinds of minerals from this location fluoresce, creating a riot of color under ultraviolet light.

[Photo: Rocks under ultraviolet light.]

Ultraviolet Light

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits