Uraninite pitchblende, is a radioactive, uranium-rich mineral and ore with a chemical composition, UO2, but due to oxidation the mineral contains variable proportions of U3O8. Additionally, due to radioactive decay, the ore contains oxides of lead and trace amounts of helium, it may contain thorium and rare earth elements. Uraninite used to be known as pitchblende; the mineral has been known at least since the 15th century from silver mines in the Ore Mountains, on the German/Czech border. The type locality is the historic mining and spa town known as Joachimsthal, the modern day Jáchymov, on the Czech side of the mountains, where F. E. Brückmann described the mineral in 1772. Pitchblende from the Johanngeorgenstadt deposit in Germany was used by M. Klaproth in 1789 to discover the element uranium. All uraninite minerals contain a small amount of radium as a radioactive decay product of uranium. Marie Curie used pitchblende, processing tons of it herself, as the source material for her isolation of radium in 1898.

Uraninite always contains small amounts of the lead isotopes 206Pb and 207Pb, the end products of the decay series of the uranium isotopes 238U and 235U respectively. Small amounts of helium are present in uraninite as a result of alpha decay. Helium was first found on Earth in uraninite after having been discovered spectroscopically in the Sun's atmosphere; the rare elements technetium and promethium can be found in uraninite in small quantities, produced by the spontaneous fission of uranium-238. Francium can be found in uraninite at 1 francium atom for every 1 × 1018 uranium atoms in the ore as a result from the decay of actinium. Uraninite is a major ore of uranium; some of the highest grade uranium ores in the world were found in the Shinkolobwe mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Another important source of pitchblende is at Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada, where it is found in large quantities associated with silver.

It occurs in Australia, the Czech Republic, England, Rwanda and South Africa. In the United States, it can be found in the states of Arizona, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wyoming; the geologist Charles Steen made a fortune on the production of uraninite in his Mi Vida mine in Moab, Utah. Uranium ore is processed close to the mine into yellowcake, an intermediate step in the processing of uranium. Thorianite Uranium ore deposits List of minerals List of uranium mines

Avellino Cathedral

Avellino Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Modestinus in Avellino, Italy. It is the seat of the bishops of Avellino; the Romanesque cathedral was built between 1132 and 1166 by bishop Roberto of Avellino, who dedicated it to Saint Modestinus. It kept its original appearance until the end of the 17th century, when a series of refurbishments and renovations began which, continuing into the 18th century transformed the building into a Baroque one. Bishop Francesco Gallo gave the cathedral a further overhaul, creating its present Neoclassical appearance; the refacing of the west front was entrusted to the architect Pasquale Cardola and was completed between 1857 and 1868, while the conversion of the interior was the work of the architect Vincenzo Varriale between 1880 and 1889. The new building was subjected to the bombing of World War II and the 1980 Irpinia earthquake, both of which made necessary further significant stabilisation and reinforcement of the structure.

The Neoclassical façade in white and grey marble is divided into two levels by a cornice. In the lower level, divided into five areas by four columns, are three entrance portals: two stone panels record the vicissitudes of the central doorway, built by Bishop Roberto in 1133 and subsequently enlarged by Bishop Guglielmo in 1167; the bronze doors are carved with scenes from the civil history of Avellino. In the lunette above the central doorway is a bas relief of the Last Supper. In two niches to either side of the same doorway are statues of Saint Modestinus, patron saint of the city, of Saint William of Vercelli, founder of the monastery of the Sanctuary of Montevergine and patron saint of Irpinia. A third stone plaque records the construction of the new façade in the 19th century; the Baroque access stairway and the arrangement of the piazza in front of the cathedral are the work of Bishop Martinez at the end of the 17th century. On the right side of the church is the campanile, of various centuries.

The lowest and oldest part is constructed of stones and marble from Roman buildings of the first century A. D; the cathedral interior has a Latin cross floorplan. The nave is divided into three aisles by pilasters; the side chapels and altars in the two side aisles are new. To the south are altars dedicated to Saint Gerardo Maiella, to the Adoration of the Magi, to Saint Anthony of Padua and to the Crucifixion. To the north are firstly two chapels, of which one is dedicated to the Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, while the other, containing an ancient canvas depicting the Annunciation, has served for a long time as a baptistry. There follow altars dedicated to the Assumption, to Our Lady of the Rosary, to the Sacred Heart dedicated to Saint Alfonso Maria de' Liguori, where it is remembered that the saint himself once celebrated Mass; the coffered ceiling of the central nave, which covers the ancient ceiling beams, was installed in the 17th century. In the centre is the large canvas by Michele Ricciardi depicting the Assumption of the Virgin.

To the sides in four medallions are depicted elements recalling the Marian Litany of Loreto: a house, a star, a tower and a rose. In the ten small cupolas which give light to the side aisles are painted gospel episodes from the life of the Virgin, works by Achille Iovine but repainted, because of the effects of damp, by Ovidio De Martino. By the same Iovine are the 20 figures of prophets or other Biblical characters painted in the arches which separate the aisles and the figures of the apostles Peter and Paul in the arch which leads into the transept. In the strip of wall that runs along the cornice has been inserted a long passage in Latin from the address of Pope Paul VI given at the closing of the third session of Vatican II. From the nave, steps give access to the transept, in the middle of which are located the new altar, the ambo and the baptismal font. On the walls, below the cornice, are two paintings by Achille Iovine showing the Holy Family, to the left, Saint Lawrence the Martyr to the right.

Above the cornice are five paintings by Angelo Michele Ricciardi of saints: Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Charles Borromeo, Saint Andrea Avellino, Saint Modestinus and Saint Gaetano Thiene. Off the transept are two chapels alongside the presbytery. To the north is the Chapel of Saint Modestinus, otherwise known as the Chapel of the Treasure of Saint Modestinus, as it preserves in precious caskets the relics of the patron saint of the diocese and a silver bust of him; this is the most important chapel in the cathedral. To the south is the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, so called because it contains a bas relief of the Trinity of the mid-16th century; the transept leads to the apse. The 16th-century choir stalls are decorated with scenes from the death of Christ. In the centre is the sumptuous high altar, of the first half of the 16th century, which came from the Santuario dell'Incoronata near Summonte and has been in the cathedral since 1813. In the upper part of the apse are nine medallions containing representations of the first nine bishops of Avellino.

Opening off the transept is the entrance to the crypt, which has retained its Romanesque appearance. It is divided into three aisles by stone columns; the ceiling has 17th-century frescoes by Angelo Michele Ricciardi. A. A. V. V. La Cattedrale di Avel


A Wappenbüchlein was published by Virgil Solis in 1555, printed in Nuremberg. The title page introduces the work. Und Kö. Mt. auch Bäpstlicher Heyligkeit, sambt anderer der Furnembsten auslendischen Kunigreichen, Churfürsten, Fürsten und gemeinen stenden, darauf des Heyligen Romischen Reichs grundveste gepflantzt unnd geordnet ist, Sovil derselben wappen zu bekhumen sind gewesen mit Iren namen und farben, Durch Virgil Solis Maler und Bürger zu Nürnberg, mit sonderm fleys gemacht In English: In honour of his imperial and royal majesty, his Holiness the pope, including some of the most noble foreign kingdoms, the prince-electors and common estates on which the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire is planted and ordered, as many as have been available with their names and colours, by Virgil Solis and burgher in Nuremberg, compiled with assiduity. After presenting the imperial coat of arms, the royal coat of arms of Ferdinand I and those of the Habsburg territories at the time; this is followed by the arms of "twelve kingdoms under the Roman Christian monarchy", viz. Germany, Bohemia, France, Denmark, Spain, England and Naples.

Solis goes on to present "the three earliest coats of arms in the world", which he makes out to be those of Abysey and Sabiey, those of the Three Magi, Balthaser, Melcher. There follow the arms of "foreign" kingdoms fictional. Only after this follow the princely arms of the Holy Roman Empire: at first the seven prince-electors, followed by a presentation of four coats of arms of the hierarchy of "members" of the empire, in the order of dukes, burgraves, counts, cities and peasants. There follows a fuller index of the arms of dukes, counts and knights; the next section is dedicated to the arms of the Roman Catholic clergy, beginning with the Holy See, followed by cardinals and bishops. The book concludes with a page showing the arms of Nuremberg, a short apology by the author, in which he asks the reader to correct possible mistakes. Heraldry of the Holy Roman Empire online facsimile