The Discovery of Hokutolite

Arriving Xinbeitou by Metro you will see a great number of hot spring spa hotels lining the streets, and you will also find a well appointed river park—Beitou Hot Spring Park, the Beitou Museum with a backdrop of rich history and nostalgia, and also the Hot Spring Museum with a strong historic background. All these are spots to spend your well-earned holidays. Here, one can hike up the mountain, dip in hot springs, try a bite on one’s favorite snacks while all the time feeling the thick, hanging atmosphere of tradition and culture around. However, beyond all these, there is yet one object of mystery that had been the focus of academic debate that drew applauses from international arenas. Hot, scalding water issuing from the thermal valley at Beitou flows down the Beitou River, carrying a rich load of dissolved mineral matters with it. As this water cascades through what is known as “Cascade of the Creek” it cools gradually, and the mineral matters are precipitated as pale white crusts of crystals on boulders in the creek. These white-colored thin crusts are the famous “Hokutolite”.  There is a trace content of radioactive Radium in Hokutolite, and it has further drawn considerable international attention. Among the thousands of known minerals, Hokutolite is the only mineral to bear the name of a Taiwan town. It was said that trace content of radioactive element in Hokutolite can do one wonders in terms of physical and health therapeutic aspects, and this brought about development and prosperity for the town of Beitou. And now, let’s take a while to learn more about this precious mineral. 


NTU Digital Archives of Geosciences Department
National Taiwan University