Wakefieldite ((La, Ce, Nd, Y) VO4) is an uncommon rare earth element mineral. There are four main types of wakefieldite- wakefieldite-(La), wakefieldite-(Ce), wakefieldite-(Nd), and wakefieldite-(Y), depending upon the dominant rare earth metal ion present. Wakefieldite has a Mohs hardness ranging from 4-5. Wakefieldite forms crystals of tetragonal structure. In terms of crystal structure, it is the vanadate analog of the rare earth phosphate mineral xenotime. Unlike xenotime, it is more favorable for wakefieldite to contain the lighter rare earth elements over the heavier ones. Due to the lanthanide contraction, the heavier rare earths have smaller ionic radii than the lighter ones. When the phosphate anion is replaced by the larger vanadate anion, the tetragonal crystal system preferentially accommodates the larger light rare earth elements.
Wakefieldite was first described for an occurrence in the Evans Lou mine, St. Pierre near Wakefield Lake, Quebec, Canada and later designated Wakefieldite-(Y).
Wakefieldite-(Ce) was first described as kusuite for its type locality in the Kusu deposit, 85 km SW of Kinshasa, Zaire. It was renamed in 1977 as the Ce analog of wakefieldite-Y.
Wakefieldite-(La) was first described for an occurrence in the Glücksstern mine, Gottlob Hill, Friedrichroda, Thüringen, Germany.
Wakefieldite-(Nd) was first described in 2008 at the Arase mine, Kami city, Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku Island, Japan.
1. ^ The Mineral and Locality Database, Wakefieldite-(La).