Rare earths are a group of 17 elements that share key chemical characteristics.

But don’t be fooled – despite the name, rare earths are not actually that rare. In fact they’re relatively plentiful in the Earth’s crust.

This is fortunate, because demand for rare earths has skyrocketed over the past two decades. That’s because they’re used in lots of high-tech devices like electronics, green energy, hybrid cars, and even lasers.

For more fun facts on rare earths check out this infographic – the latest in our rockin’ series on Australian minerals

Rare earths in the rough infographic

Find out more about CSIRO’s minerals research.