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Zircon with quartz from Cheyenne Canyon, Colorado—Courtesy of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; photograph, John H. Gerard
Silicate mineral, zirconium silicate, ZrSiO, the principal source of zirconium. Zircon is widespread as an accessory mineral in acid igneous rocks; it also occurs in metamorphic rocks and, fairly often, in detrital deposits. It occurs in beach sands in many parts of the world, particularly Australia, India, Brazil, and Florida, and is a common heavy mineral in sedimentary rocks. Gem varieties occur in stream gravels and detrital deposits, particularly in Indochina and Sri Lanka, but also in Myanmar, Australia, and New Zealand. Zircon forms an important part of the syenite of southern Norway and occurs in large crystals in Quebec.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on zircon, visit Britannica.com.