Blue Amber

March 03, 2015


Photographer: Mila Zinkova  
Summary Author: Mila Zinkova
Amber2Some of the amber mined in the Dominican Republic is especially precious because of its rare blue or bluish-green color, as shown above. It's sometimes referred to as "blue stone of Atlantis". The remarkable blue glow is caused by hydrocarbons (polycyclic, aromatic hydrocarbons or PAH) converting ultraviolet light from the Sun to blue light -- fluorescence. Observed under sunlight and placed on a dark background, a distinct blue color emerges. Sunlight, with a lighter background, passes through the amber but is then reflected off the lighter surface, resulting in a noticeably lighter blue color. It's not known for sure why some Dominican amber is fluorescent, but it's believed that at some point in time it was heated either by forest fires or perhaps by erupting volcanoes. The heat made most inclusions unrecognizable. On the inset at left, made using a microscope, swirls in this piece of blue amber are composed of minute bubbles.

Interestingly, there's something in common between the fluorescence of blue amber and the fluorescence associated with deep space nebula Ced 201.

Photo details: Camera Model: Canon PowerShot SX40 HS; Focal Length: 150.5mm; Digital Zoom: 1.543x; Aperture: ƒ/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0025 s (1/400); ISO equiv: 400; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows.