Frondel, Clifford Formerly, Department of Geological Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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A mineral with the idealized composition ZrSiO4, one of the chief sources of the element zirconium. Trace amounts of uranium and of thorium are often present and the mineral may then be partly or entirely metamict. The name cyrtolite is applied to an altered type of zircon. Structurally, zircon is a nesosilicate, with isolated SiO4 groups. It is isostructural with the thorium silicate thorite and the yttrium phosphate xenotime. See also: Radioactive minerals; Silicate minerals; Zirconium
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