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Press release

200-year long dispute over smelly mineral from Upper Palatinate resolved:

First direct evidence that elemental fluorine occurs in nature

The picture shows dark violet to black crystals of antozonite.
Antozonite or „Stinkspat", Photo: Dr. Rupert Hochleitner, Mineralogische Staatssammlung München

Fluorine is the most reactive chemical element. That is why it is not found in nature in its elemental form, but only in compounds, such as fluorite – that was the accepted scientific doctrine so far. A special fluorite, the “fetid fluorite” or “antozonite”, has been the subject of many discussions for nearly 200 years. This mineral emits an intensive odor when crushed. Now, for the first time, scientists from the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) have successfully identified natural elemental fluorine in this fluorspar. They report their results in the international edition of the scientific journal “Angewandte Chemie”.