Any of a series of 15 metallic elements (also known as rare earths) with atomic numbers 57 (lanthanum) to 71 (lutetium). One of its members, promethium, is radioactive. All occur in nature. Lanthanides are grouped because of their chemical similarities (they are all bivalent), their properties differing only slightly with atomic number.
Lanthanides were called rare earths originally because they were not widespread and were difficult to identify and separate from their ores by their discoverers. The series is set out in a band in the periodic table of the elements, as are the actinides.
ytterbium, yttrium, curium, erbium, europium, holmium, lutetium, praseodymium, promethium, scandium, terbium, thulium, monazite,
dysprosium, neodymium, samarium