One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A black mineral, typically occurring as dense tabular crystals, consisting of an oxide of iron, manganese, niobium, and tantalum. It is the chief ore of niobium.
- ‘The abundance of these elements in the parental magma leads to the formation of less-common minerals such as apatite, beryl, topaz, amblygonite, lepidolite, spodumene tantalite, columbite, monazite, zircon, and uraninite.’
- ‘It occurs most commonly in the minerals columbite, tantalite, and microlite.’
- ‘It is most abundant in the coarse-grained facies and is often associated with triphylite, columbite, and sphalerite.’
- ‘Beryl, columbite, and triphylite are common accessory minerals in the Estes pegmatite, especially in the coarse-grained layers.’
- ‘These minerals are columbite, microlite, futile, thorite, and zircon.’
Early 19th century: from columbium + -ite.
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