Bob's Rock Shop Book Review
Reviewer: Tim Jokela Jr.
Encyclopedia of Mineral Names
By William H. Blackburn and William H. Dennen
Encyclopedia of Mineral Names, Special Publication 1 of The Canadian Mineralogist, by William H. Blackburn and William H. Dennen. Published 1997 by the Mineralogical Association of Canada, P.O. Box 78087, Meriline Postal Outlet, 1460 Merivale Road, Ottawa, ON K2E 1B1. Hardcover, 360 pages, with over two dozen black and white drawings by Peter Russell, $40 US/Cdn
If you've ever wondered whose sinister hand was behind the naming of minerals like leucophoenicite, diaoyudaoite, xocomecatlite, or the devilish albrechtschraufite, then this book is just your cup of tea. The first in the Special Publication series of The Canadian Mineralogist, this is a fine indication of the high level of current Canadian mineralogical scholarship.
It begins with a highly interesting discussion of the evolution of language and the history of the naming of minerals. One learns that 45% of mineral species are named in honor of a person, 23% for the type locality, 14% for their chemical composition, 8% for distinctive physical properties, and the rest for a combination of, or none of, the above. The rest of the book is a well laid-out list of all known species, with composition, crystal system, space group, structural/chemical relationships, type locality, one or more references, and of course what it was named for.
As it turns out, leucophoenicite is derived from the Greek words leukos meaning white, and phainesthai, meaning to appear, in allusion to its whitish reflection; diaoyudaoite for it's type locality in Taiwan; xocomecatlite for the Nahua word xocomecatl, meaning grapes, due to its green globular habit; and albrechtschraufite was named in honor of Albrecht Schrauf, a Viennese mineralogy professor born in 1837. An excellent book, highly recommended.
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