Carbocernaite is a rare mineral with an unusual chemistry. It is named in fact for its unusual chemistry reflecting the carbonate (carbo), cerium (cer) and sodium (Na) in its composition.
Cerium is just one of the several rare earth metals that are important to industry. A closely related mineral is called burbankite. Both minerals are considered to be important in the development of rare earth metal containing minerals in carbonatite rocks and are being studied for this reason.
Some rare earth minerals have been found to make pseudomorphs of burbankite and carbocernaite, a testament perhaps of how they play a role in the rare earth minerals' development. Although both contain some rare earth metals, neither is common enough to be considered at present a viable source for these important metals.
Carbocernaite originates to some degree in hydrothermal deposits and nepheline syenites, but more substantially in carbonatite rocks, an unusual igneous rock composed mostly of carbonate minerals.
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