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Testing mineral properites?

Posted by Henry Barwood  
Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 02, 2012 08:50PM
I think Don Peck is being modest. I think that the first book that someone interested in learning about testing minerals should get is Mineral Identification: A Practical Guide for the Amateur Mineralogist, by Donald B. Peck. Is this still being sold by Mineralogical Record (one can go on their website and search under their Books section)?

After this one, one can get the other older books by asking others about them, and then, if the local used book shop doesn't have them (not all do, and they can be far and few, although interesting when one does find them), searching on used book websites such as abebooks.com and alibris and others like that. Sometimes even a fellow collector will have a spare copy of some spare beat-up old book (such as one of the Brush & Penfield Determinative Mineralogy) which he just can't bring himself to toss out. Sometimes such a person will ship one for the cost of shipping, just to get it to where it can be used and appreciated.
Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 04, 2012 03:28PM
Don't forget that you can get quite a few free older books regarding mineral testing via the internet archive at least for those in the USA. The Brush and Penfield book is available there for example. The scan quality isn't always the best especially for OCR which can give a lot of errors when you want to grab a text instead of actual scans. You should be OK if you are willing to use the actual PDF files despite the large size as they include the actual scans and the human eye is far better at figuring out a smudged letter than any OCR program.

I haven't had the best success in downloading the Kindle versions of some mineral related texts that I downloaded from there. I suspect if I spent enough time with Calibre and formatting and correcting errors, I can get a good usable Kindle copy of some sloppy OCRed books by comparing the PDF scan. A Kindle Fire or some other even larger format tablet device like the iPad may be good for straight PDFs. The regular e-ink Kindle is just a little bit too small to show many straight PDF files without having to zoom which is a bit awkward. Landscape mode works fairly well for the e-ink Kindles with some PDFs.

I would start with Peck's book though as it is easily available and it gives a good overview of mineral testing. I haven't used the CD that is bundled with the book yet so I don't know if it has the more detailed blowpipe and bead test results of an older work like the Brush/Penfield book.
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 05, 2012 02:51PM
James, MinSearch on the CD in my book, does not tell you how to do any tests. What it does do is list those minerals for which there is a match when any number of physical, chemical, and/or optical properties (observations) are input. So, if you know say, the color, luster, streak, and diaphaneity and the bead test indicates cobalt, you can input those properties and generate a list of the minerals that match (from more than 4000). You can use the locallity from included locallities database (3000) as one of the properties if the list of minerals for the locallity is included. MinSearch is extremely fast and isn't intended to replace reference books, but rather to winnow the list of possible minerals down to a handful or less so one know where to look in the books. The program can be used also for a quick lookup for the properties of a given mineral. I hope you try it.

BTW, MinSearch is a 32 bit fully compiled program and will run under the new Microsoft 64 bit systems. However the Install Shield installer will not. If you have a problem, contact me and I will provide a "work-around".
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 11, 2012 03:58PM
    
As far as Internet Archive, I find that the Google book scans are the worst with some being so poorly done that they are useless. I rarely download a pdf unless I am posting it on my Scribd page. My favorite and most space saving way to save my IA books is with the DJVU program. The documents take up a lot less space and they read a lot faster. The DJVU program is only a few megabytes compared to several hundred with Adobe and others.For Windows OS I use this one:DJVU If you use a Mac then go to this page: DJVU for Macs If you are familiar with downloading from Internet Archives, its easy to just choose DJVU from the list of available text formats of the desired book. I'll be glad to help if anyone has any questions.
Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 12, 2012 05:40PM
Thanks for the info. I despise PDF for pretty much the bulk they take up and also for the very limited text reflowing for devices that don't match the actual sizes of the PDF text. PDFs are OK for printout though but I rarely do that sort of thing. I wasn't aware that DJVU could be used offline as for some reason I thought it was limited to online reading. I'll give Calibre a try and see how it converts DJVU files to the kindle format, at the very least the files should be smaller.
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 12, 2012 10:28PM
DJVU or PDF are both based on scanned images rather than formatted text, so neither are really great for Kindle (Calibre won't really be able to do much with them).

I find PDF quite readable on the iPad, but not on Kindle - which is why I find the iPad a more useful ebook reader than Kindle for the things I normally read.

Jolyon
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 12, 2012 10:49PM
    
As Jolyon said, DJVU and PDF don't convert very well and are better on an iPad than a Kindle. I have even loaded the Kindle versions of certain mineralogy books from Internet Archives and still get corrupted files. Go figure. I guess if I really need to have some documents with me I'll end buying an iPad. Anyway, back to the topic of testing. Anyone can do a search on Internet Archive and come up with dozens of useful books by using keywords like assay, blowpipe, mineralogy, etc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2012 11:09PM by Ron Layton.
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 13, 2012 01:11AM
    
Perhaps one of the best books that I have found for non-professional mineral identification is Identification and Qualitative Chemical Analysis of Minerals by Orsino C. Smith, published by Van Nostrand. Unfortunately, it is now difficult to find. It has an introductory chapter on mineral properties and simple testing equipment. It then covers the blowpipe and its uses with highly detailed descriptions and photos of the reactions for various elements. Later in the book it covers simple qualitative chemical tests. Finally, there is a very comprehensive set of identification tables, though a bit outdated.

As a boy of 12, my first interest in mineralogy began with this book. My mother couldn't understand my lust for glassware, chemicals and other apparatus, but relented to my wants. I have to admit that my interest in chemistry took a sidetrack from minerals, which eventually let to some rather interesting misadventures. Eventually though, my interest returned to mineralogy. Sixty years later, I still keep a copy of this book on my bookshelf.

Gene
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 23, 2012 01:14AM
    
I just bought a copy of Donald Pecks book from MinRec. Its a fantastic aid to identification. Does anyone know how to get the disk included to work in Windows Vista?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/23/2012 05:45AM by Ron Layton.
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 23, 2012 08:39AM
Eventually Mindat should have something like that available on the site.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
May 23, 2012 03:58PM
Ron, PM me about the problem with Vista and the CD from my book. This is the first I have known of it. I am sure we can find a way to get the CD ti work. Don
Re: Testing mineral properites?
October 02, 2012 06:53PM
Donald Peck Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> James, MinSearch on the CD in my book, does not
> tell you how to do any tests. What it does do is
> list those minerals for which there is a match
> when any number of physical, chemical, and/or
> optical properties (observations) are input. So,
> if you know say, the color, luster, streak, and
> diaphaneity and the bead test indicates cobalt,
> you can input those properties and generate a list
> of the minerals that match (from more than 4000).
> You can use the locallity from included
> locallities database (3000) as one of the
> properties if the list of minerals for the
> locallity is included. MinSearch is extremely
> fast and isn't intended to replace reference
> books, but rather to winnow the list of possible
> minerals down to a handful or less so one know
> where to look in the books. The program can be
> used also for a quick lookup for the properties of
> a given mineral. I hope you try it.
>
> BTW, MinSearch is a 32 bit fully compiled program
> and will run under the new Microsoft 64 bit
> systems. However the Install Shield installer
> will not. If you have a problem, contact me and I
> will provide a "work-around".

Hi Don,

I finally got around to putting the CD into my laptop computer. However it will not install since I am running 64 bit windows. I sent you a PM a while back so check that so you can provide me a "work-around". Thanks!
avatar Re: Testing mineral properites?
October 03, 2012 03:45PM
Oops! My wife and I have moved from New Jersey to Illinois. Did I overlook your email in the move? PM coming your way.
Don
Re: Testing mineral properites?
October 03, 2012 04:25PM
OP - MinDat should cut a deal with Mr. Peck to put the contents of his book on the site. It's a superb tool.
Re: Testing mineral properites?
October 03, 2012 06:56PM
Modesty probably stopped Don Peck from mentioning his excellent publication: "Mineral Identification - A Practical Guide for the Amateur Mineralogist", readily available from MinRec. If you are interested in developing your own little ID lab, Don's book would be a great start.

I, too, remember Curt Segeler's careful work sans XRD and EMPA, and his results were rarely incorrect when later checked by more elaborate means. We are, indeed, slaves to our machines, as they are fast and straightforward in most cases. But those willing to labor as the classical mineralogists did, certainly have plenty of hard copy resources to help teach them how to go about it!
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