The principal economic sources of rare earths stones are the rare earth minerals bastnasite, monazite, and loparite and the lateritic ion-adsorption clays (REEs composed of LREEs and HREEs). The rare earths are a relatively abundant group of 17 elements composed of scandium, yttrium, and the lanthanides. The elements range in crustal abundance from cerium, the 25th most abundant element of the 78 common elements in the Earth's crust at 60 parts per million, to thulium and lutetium, the least abundant rare-earth elements at about 0.5 part per million. The elemental forms of rare earths are iron gray to silvery lustrous metals that are typically soft, malleable, ductile and usually reactive, especially at elevated temperatures or when finely divided.
While most of these elements are not actually rare in terms of general amount, they are rarely found in sufficient abundance in a single location for their mining to be economically viable. REEs have many important applications in modern technology such as nuclear batteries, fluorescent lamps, LED lights, lasers, camera lenses, catalysts for self cleaning ovens, MRI contrast agents, fiber-optics, computer memory modules, X-ray machines, etc., for which there is no equal substitute, but
an increasing demand for these elements is straining supply. As of recently, the Chinese market has reached a deadlock and is being challenged by foreign investors and producers, such as the Molycorp Minerals LLC, a subsidiary of Molycorp, Inc., located at the Mountain Pass rare earth mine on the flank of the Clark Mountain Range in California, where this study is currently underway.
The rare earths' unique properties are used in a wide variety of applications crucial to the way we live now and are responsible for miniaturizing the world around us in the case of computers, headphones, hybrid cars, SD cards, chips and more. Yet only recently has a technique emerged to actually miniaturize the faculties of smell, hearing, taste, and touch in effort to maximize ordinary human vision through the use of rare earth data stones. Like the great strides in technology where a robot can effectively make a pizza for a single household family or the use of additive manufacturing on spaceflight (better known as 3D food printing), rare earth data stones have garnered attention for their strikingly heroic aim—to maximize the faculty of human vision by means of rare earth data seepage.