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Posted by Etienne Medard  
Etienne Medard December 29, 2006 06:11PM
From my understanding of the recent paper by Armbruster et al. (see below) on the epidote group mineral, Hancockite should be renamed Epidote-(Pb). How should we deal with that? Just say "Valid - Grandfathered / renamed 2006" for Epidote-(Pb) and have Hancockite as a synonym?

Other nomenclature modifications include:

Niigataite (old) = clinozoisite-(Sr) (new)
Tweddillite (old) = manganipiemontite-(Sr) (new)
Strontiopiemontite (old) = piemontite-(Sr) (new)
Androsite-(La) (old) = manganiandrosite-(La) (new)



Armbruster T, Bonazzi P, Akasaka M, Bermanec V, Chopin Ch, Gieré R, Heuss-Assbichler S, Liebscher A, Menchetti S, Pan Y, Pasero, M (2006) Recommended nomenclature of epidote-group minerals. Eur. J. Mineral. 2006, 18, 551-567
Marco E. Ciriotti December 29, 2006 06:24PM
Now Epidote-(Pb) is an approved (or better a renamed/redefined) species. The new name was approved by CNMNC so it is an ex-grandfathered.

The same for all other mineral revised/renamed by the Epidote Subcommittee.
Uwe Kolitsch December 29, 2006 07:49PM
We haven't changed the names yet. Will do that now.
Uwe Kolitsch December 29, 2006 08:03PM
Done. Am also changing the chemical formulae so they fit the general crystal-structural sequence A1 A2 M1 M2 M3.
Steven M Kuitems DMD July 14, 2007 04:40AM
Where can I find the site where the IMA has approved the nomenclature change for Hancockite(1899) to epidote-Pb. The last structural paper I could find was Am. Min. 56(1971)W.A. Dollase.Have they found something new??about structure or chemistry?? I know the recomendation was made in 2006 in Eur. J. Min but does this supercede the century old previous nomenclature and the last structural work by Dollase??
Ernst A.J. Burke July 14, 2007 08:30AM
The paper on epidote-group nomenclature in Eur. J. Mineral. 18 (2006), 551-567, is the report of the epidote subcommittee of the IMA-CNMNC; the report was approved by the IMA-CNMNC and thus the name hancockite is now obsolete in favour of epidote-(Pb). The approval of the report and the name changes have also been mentioned on the website of the IMA-CNMNC.
Jeffrey de Fourestier July 25, 2007 11:25PM
Just my two bits:

I find it sad that well-established names (often for very deserving indiduals) are simply being renamed because it soots some other mineralogist's nomenclature preference. I find it deeply disrespectful to the original authors, the person for whon the original name was given, the mineral's longstanding stature (ie the what defines it as a separate species hasn't sustanttially changed), and the original IMA voters that approved some of these names. All the conservatism that Spencer worked so hard to maintain seem spat apon with these types of unnecessary name changes. Placing minerals within proper groups that may recently have been understood is one thing but destroying a valid minerals original history by stripping it of a perfectly valid name seems to me to not be a valid contribution to the science.

There, I've said it. Now tto the fan......

Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. July 26, 2007 12:08AM
This one in particular has caused animous among Franklin, NJ, collectors. If they are going to do this to Hancockite, they should either undo it, or change all of the other species that fall into a similar situation to conform to this type of nomenclature (which is devoid of the human element in mineralogy).


Zdenekite = Lavendulan-Pb, e.g.
Jason B. Smith July 26, 2007 12:09AM
I totally agree^^.

I was just sitting here trying to think of a way to justify the need to simplify things by renaming species but nothing I typed made since when it came down to dishonoring someone for whom a valid species has been named, especially for such a long time. I know there are valid reasons for the need to do so but it is no less disgraceful in my opinion.
Alfredo Petrov July 26, 2007 04:44PM
I agree that there is a regrettable lack of consistency in the systematic naming of mineral species.

On the other hand, I see no need to panic about the "loss" of ones favorite names, like hancockite, or (in my case) niigataite. There is no reason why Franklin collectors have to stop using the name hancockite. We can easily get used to the idea of having parallel "common names" and "scientific names" for the same material. If any future collector is confused by "hancockite" versus "epidote-(Pb)", a quick check on the internet will reveal that they are synonyms and end his confusion.

In the biological world nobody has a problem with "dog" being the same species as "canis lupus familiaris". If we human beings can somehow handle this "confusion" for the million or so named living species, cant mineral collectors handle having more than one name for the comparatively pitifully small number of mineral species?
Ellen Faller August 29, 2007 08:53PM
Relative to this discussion, I wonder what the name change means to the type specimen material. Most species described in the last 200 years have "type" material housed someplace. Does that material have any place in the name change? Was a change in the name related to study of the type material or was the name change just a decision on paper?
I'd love to have answers to these questions, as I have to cope with the result of the name change.
Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. August 29, 2007 11:08PM
A decision on paper in the case of Hancockite - we've known for decades that Hancockite was the Pb analogue of Epidote.
Jacques Galvier August 30, 2007 08:54AM
T. Armbruster have made him a speciality: to change mineral names without real necessity and without bring anything fundamental to mineralogy... with the blessing of the CNMMN-CNMNC, ! Is it a nessecity to remind people that minerals are first accessible in the field, not on sheet of squred paper. The report is actually distressing when we hear and note the general reactions in the community of the amateurs and, above all, institutionals, and, for example, regularly in the Mindat window, first.

All criticals are always in hushed words, and it's a natural thing, with all the respect for the international mineralogical authorities, but we can also expose our feeling in clear words. We are the first and main users of the nomencature and classification.

Remember, the circus act begin in 2002 with the acceptance ot the names, among others, magnesiotaaffeite-6N’3S and ferrotaaffeite-6N’3S (nice !), instead of musgravite and pehrmanite, it was already enlightening.
For many other important groups, like labuntsovite, eudialyte, etc., no negative criticism and reactions so large and impopular. Why ?

It's perhaps not too late to turn back, for the future, all the more that the author's proposals seriously leak consistence if the aim is an unification.

Nethertheless, congratulation for armbrusterite, it's really a new structure, a new name was necessary. Except if we take a fresh look for the mechanism of classification and naming minerals in a newly complex phyllosilicates group.

Thanks to Etienne to throw again the question

Ernst A.J. Burke August 30, 2007 12:14PM
As chairman of the IMA-CNMNC, I must protest against some expressions used in this thread on the occasion of the recent new nomenclature system for epidote-group minerals.

Thomas Armbruster does not change mineral names for fun with the blessing of the CNMNC, and neither does any other chairman of a subcommittee handling nomenclature problems. The CNMNC was confronted, some years ago, with observations of Scott Ercit which showed that the existing nomenclature of the epidote group would lead to some serious problems. The CNMNC then asked Thomas Armbruster to chair a subcommittee to solve these problems. Specialists of this group finally proposed a new nomenclature system, which was approved by the CNMNC. We should be grateful to Thomas for cleaning up historical "mess", as in the nigerite-taaffeite group and in the epidote group.

Mineralogy is not a static object, but a living science, with continuous new discoveries and insights. This necessiates from time to time reflection on the status of specific mineral groups. The CNMMN-CNMNC has for almost 50 years produced reports on the most diverse mineral groups, and has rationalised and simplified their nomenclature. Such operations imply that mineral names sometimes have to be changed.

As for the more or less emotional sobbing on the disappearance of historical names: please take a good look at the compilations authored by Peter Bayliss and Jeffrey de Fourestier, and if you like to do so, please weep about all historical names which have been shown to be superfluous in the past 50 years!
Jolyon & Katya Ralph August 30, 2007 12:46PM
I have no problem with trying to bring some order to the chaos of mineral names, as long as things are done consistently.

I might be wrong on this, but I always thought the name 'Zálesíite' was a strange choice when 'Agardite-(Ca)' was not only a more logical name, but had already been used provisionally by many people.

Are there any plans to revert this name? If not, why not?

Ernst A.J. Burke August 30, 2007 02:06PM
I agree that having a consistent mineral nomenclature would be a desirable aim to pursue. But what is consistency? Many things have been said about this problem, it is the eternal discussion between rational and irrational nomenclature in mineralogy. Our great founding father of mineralogy, Abraham Gottlob Werner, magnified the already existing nomenclature misery in starting to name minerals after his financial sponsors. You say that zálesíite is a strange choice for a name, but agardite is of course in principle as strange. We have after all an irrational nomenclature, so minerals can be named after persons.

But we could of course discuss how zálesíite should have been named: agardite-(Ca) or calcioagardite. The latter is the current rule, the former is more practical, and the current trend is to apply this "Levinson-type" names to new minerals. We already have about 500 mineral names with such a "chemical" prefix: changing these names to a suffix-type nomenclature would not be desirable, as the advantage of changing these names would not be greater than the chaos created by changing these names.

However, in the near future some names in very common groups will be changed in this way by the CNMNC, e.g., in the apatite group.

In fact, a consistent mineral nomenclature, after all these centuries of irrational behaviour, is impossible, one can only hope to correct some minor inconsistencies. And even this humble aim is difficult. It is interesting to compare, e.g., the motives of the subcommittees on the nomenclatures for the labuntsovite and eudialyte groups. The former decided on suffix-type names, the latter on new root names, and both groups had compelling reasons for acting as they did. But the result is of course inconsistent, if one looks at the totality of mineralogy.

But at least within some groups, the nomenclature is consistent, the epidote group is a fine example.
Jim Ferraiolo August 30, 2007 02:30PM
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."
Marco E. Ciriotti August 30, 2007 04:41PM
I totally agree with the Prof. Burke message contents.
Jim Ferraiolo August 30, 2007 08:17PM
I also agree with Prof. Burke's comments, but I do miss the inconsistency of the naming in some groups (especially where, as Jason says, the name was to honour someone), as well as constant inconsistency of the amphibole nomenclature.
Uwe Kolitsch August 31, 2007 05:42PM
On "agardite-(Ca)": Ca is not a REE, therefore the Levinson system could not be used.

I fully support Prof. Burke reply.

"We are the first and main users of the nomencature and classification." (J. Galvier)
Wrong. Professional mineralogists are the first users, and the classifications are made by them and for them.
Andrew G. Christy September 01, 2007 02:41AM

just a reminder that the modified and extended Levinson system *is* now applied to some groups with no REE, both with and without parentheses depending on whetehr the suffix cations are an integral part of the structural unit or not.

Examples: pumpellyite-(Mg), chabazite-Ca.

Apart from that: I agree entirely with Uwe that professionals are the priority users of nomenclature, and with Ernst's observations about the desirability of having some sytematicity in naming, but the impossibility of having one single consistent system for all minerals all at once.
Uwe Kolitsch September 01, 2007 04:51PM
Andrew: agreed, but REE and other elements generelly don't seem to be mixed in the extended system (the only exception I am aware of right now is the epidote group, but maybe there are also further exceptions).
Tony Nikischer September 17, 2007 08:04PM
This is an old topic by now, but pity the future researcher who will be required to do multiple literature searches for such unfortunately renamed valid species like hancockite!

There are many "old" names no longer used, but they were cast aside by the scientific community when the material was systematically studied, usually with new and better technological aids, and found to be something else that had priority in terms of when it was named. The names were deemed superfluous because the material was found to be some other valid mineral, not because the name didn't fit some newly designed nomenclature scheme that ignores historical precedent.

The renaming of otherwise valid mineral species is change for the sake of change, and it only adds to even greater historical confusion. A great pity and a short-sighted effort, in my opinion, much like the mass discreditations that were accomplished without appropriate, tangible scientific investigation as outlined in IMA procedures.
Marco E. Ciriotti September 17, 2007 09:37PM
Hi Tony,
I don't agree with your point of view.
In this case, as in many others, the renaming is totally logic...
Logic is over history, in my opinion (with the max respect for history; I am Italian and our is a very long history...).
Now the epidote group represents one of the best group nomenclature example.

Ciao. Marco
Bela Feher October 02, 2007 12:32PM
IMA is a synonym factory.
Uwe Kolitsch October 02, 2007 12:36PM
Sorry, but this is a rubbish remark.
Jim Ferraiolo October 02, 2007 04:23PM
In reference to this thread:

IMA No. 07-C
Several decisions have been taken on the nomenclature of a number of mineral names < one of which is>:

The authors of new-mineral proposals should use a suffix nomenclature rather than a prefix nomenclature. Some minerals in well-known groups are to be renamed.
Jeffrey de Fourestier October 11, 2007 01:18AM
As someone who has now a collection of well over a hundred thousand superfluous, discredited, obsolete or invented names, nomenclature is close to my heart and I am uneasy with the renaming of well-established species that have had their name for a long time or since their original description by the original authors.

I think Tony makes a valid point in all due respect. I would like to point out that Povarennykh took it upon himself to rename all minerals based on their crystallochemistry. This would have eliminated an enormous number of names given by their authors to honour someone or something. Thankfully his system was not accepted and the names he created are almost unknown outside a small circle.

I still believe that it is neither necessary nor defensible to change names like hancockite. Even the most amateur mineralogist understands the insertion in an abstract on hancockite - "Pb-analogue of epidote", for example. Another example, as the group was mentioned above, was the renaming of pengzhizhongite, which –yes – is a Mg-analogue of nigerite. It was named by the ones who described the mineral, chose the name, sought and received IMA approval, to honour one of China's greatest mineralogists and certainly its greatest crystallographer. Yet with a simple vote by, which must be said, is a very exclusive group of people, swept away into my dustbin a name that should never have been placed there. Renaming it magnesionigerite didn’t contribute anything and if anything took something very precious away.

Names that were created in another age and were spurious from the get go are fair game but not well established names for sound species. If the original author were to apply for a renaming based on the fact that he may feel there is a better name for whatever valid reason, would this name be so readily changed? Not necessarily. And that is the point - it is NOT NECESSARY. We are on the edge of a slippery slope. Why not rename all mineral names to something else. Lord knows, we could adopt the nomenclature used by chemists. Quartz could become “β-hexa-silicondioxide�? Why not? We should not! Perhaps this is an extreme analogy, but I would like to emphasize that we should side on caution before agreeing to any radical name change for a species, however logical it may seem at a given moment. This was also the view of the founding fathers of modern mineral nomenclature.

After reading early attempts to make nomenclature more “logical�, I was convinced that the IMA’s former conservativism in the renaming of minerals was the correct line. If Leonard Spencer, who I once described as the spiritual father of the IMA and our present-day nomenclature, were alive today, I believe he would be saddened by this recent trend. (I would invite those interested to read my brief history.) Quite honestly I have worked very hard to avoid more names being created unnecessarily and such renaming doesn't help anyone in my view.

Put me down as a conservative.
Alfredo Petrov October 11, 2007 02:09AM
I agree with Jeffrey de Fourestier. And I think the cause of this predicament (that the very body set up to control unnecessary proliferation of names has itself become guilty of unnecessarily creating new names) is that the whole naming process is controlled by a too small group of individuals who make decisions without input from the wider mineralogical community. I'm not saying they shouldn't have the right to make decisions, but they might make better decisions if there were a preliminary time for public comment.

On the other hand there is no punishment for ignoring such decisions. Franklin collectors will probably continue to use the name hancockite regardless. So, if the current trend continues, we will end up like other disciplines such as zoology, where every species has two names, a "common" one used in ordinary discourse and a "scientific name" for academic affairs. The fact that the "habu snake" is also "Trimeresurus flavoviridis" causes no confusion between zoologists and snake collectors. None of them are bothered by the existence of two names for the same animal. Why does this cause such panic in the mineralogical community? Long live "hancockite" and long live "epidote-Pb"!

A recent article by Tony Nikischer in Mineral News has some interesting commentary on the hancockite decision:

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2007 06:12PM by Alfredo Petrov.
Tony Nikischer October 12, 2007 01:33PM
The difficulty with using two names for the same mineral has always been one of accuracy, with an undertone of needed integrity in the marketplace. For many years, Joe Mandarino and others stressed to both the dealer and collector communities the need to avoid varietal or discredited names.

When Joe was chairman of the CNMMN, he was relentless in urging the dealer community to be precise and up to date in the use of mineral nomenclature, and it is, in fact, one of the very reasons the IMA exisits - to bring order and authority to the naming of mineral species. While we dealers and collectors are free to ignore the IMA's nomenclature decisions, that would only erode the considerable effort and progress made by all concerned over the past few decades.

Nonetheless, when a poor decision is made, such as the one involving the discarding of a legitimate mineral name with historical precedent, it is also our responsibility to speak out rather than just ignore the decision. My article in Mineral News that you referenced above is part of that necessary dissent.
Jeffrey de Fourestier January 20, 2012 02:32AM
Although this goes back a bit I had overlooked this referal to something I wrote.: "As for the more or less emotional sobbing on the disappearance of historical names: please take a good look at the compilations authored by Peter Bayliss and Jeffrey de Fourestier, and if you like to do so, please weep about all historical names which have been shown to be superfluous in the past 50 years!" (Burke)

I seriously do not think this is an issue of emotional sobbing (not to say that I believe most sobbing is emotional). However, I wrote my glossary in an effort to prevent the unecessary creation of new names. Too know this one just has to read my introduction. After Joe Mandarino reviewed the book he criticised me that I was creating new names because I used (?) where I didn'y know the correct REE for a Levinson modified name. During one of our first conversation we actually came to realise that in fact we were equally conservative when it came to nomenclature. I hope that if he is looking down from somewhere that I am justly continuing the values he instilled in me.

It is mentioned above that it was known for a long time that hancockite was the Pb analogue of epidote. In fact, if anyone takes the time to read the original description, the author states directly that the new mineral he named in honour of Hancock was the "lead analog of epidote". I am saddened that I would be referred to in order to justify the reation of new names for already named species unless there is a redescription or something major that would justify it. That is not the only case with this mineral and many others that did not need to be renamed. (Also mentioned above).

What this zeal to rename minerals when groups are redefined also has caused that I find disturbing is that names are indicated for hypothetical members not found in nature. This too, I find reprehensable. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am staunchly against renaming without respecting scrupiously very narrow and exceptional indications.

I have also been spurned on by at least one case I have come across of a name where the species was renamed without consulting the original author who was still alive. This disrepected the person whose name was removed from the species but also the scientist who bought this species to recognition. I could go on.

It is bad enough that I would be associated in the same sentence with Bayliss who himself created many unnecessary names and even discredited a whole series of valid IMA recognised names without IMA approval (If anybody wants I can send them the list and they can check it for themselves).

There will always be new names. Sometimes because of human error or because of justifiable requirement. Sadly after all this time we still have not seen a full return to full respect of the IMA's own rules. I would hope that peerhaps an IMA subcommittee could be struck that would try and repair some of the damage.
Hans Kloster January 23, 2012 07:46AM
National pride:
Local names like old danish mineral names were translated from german miners and used today. In german they often, but not systematic, use k where c is used in english. The Terms in the bible and the miners explanation is rather naive then rational. So please, forget the national pride and use the IMA english for all minerals.
Jeffrey de Fourestier January 29, 2012 12:48AM
Might I remind everyone that the original description in the 19th century begins with author and discoverer stating unequivically that Hancockite is the lead analog of epidote. While other parts of the epidote group may have beeen a "mess", hancockite remained as originally described: the lead analog of epidote. (need I repeat again?)

The IMA, with all due respect, is just wrong on this one and I think no one should take offence if the original name simply takes precedence as has been done with countless other cases where precedence was determined. According to the IMA's own rules the name that has precedence when there is more than one name and there is no new determination giving justification for a name change it is the one that can be shown to be the oldest in the scientific literature. Hence, realgar is not realgarite, stibnite is not antimonite and galena is not galenite following previous attemps to "regularize" or make names more "logical" or, as Burke states, to be "consistent". It is clear that there is nothing new in describing hancockite as the lead dominant analog of epidote recognised by everyone ever since it was discovered. Not for "decaded" but for over a century! Therefore, hancockite has precidence and Epidote-(Pb) should be religated to where it belongs - with all the other superfluous names.

To quote Burke in citing my work (eroneously I might add) "for the more or less emotional sobbing on the disappearance of historical names: please take a good look at the compilations authored by ... Jeffrey de Fourestier, and if you like to do so, please weep about all historical names which have been shown to be superfluous in the past 50 years". In discarding the name that does not have precidence no one should weep the discarding of the obsolete name "epidote-(Pb)".
Steven Kuitems January 29, 2012 01:33AM
Jefferey, I agree with your concerns. This was an unmerited and flippant ( ie NO new science on structure or chemistry) decision. In fact the authors completely ignored the fact that "hancockite" in addition to lead also has a consistent strontium content. So to be more precise both the Pb and Sr should be mentioned, but it was not! This nomenclature change was not justified by new chemistry or structural analysis...shameful in my view!
Ralph Bottrill January 29, 2012 04:14AM
Once you guys get hancockite reinstated maybe you could look at the pyrochlore group and ask why we had to have so many well know names (eg. Bindheimite and stibiconite) replaced by unpronounceable names or no names at all? ;-)

D Mike Reinke January 29, 2012 04:33AM
Can the IMA be allowed one, or a few mistakes in 400- plus names? Can anyone else come up w/ that many decisions and not make some people furious? For those who talk of 'honor', 'shame' or 'spitting' do you cheat on your taxes, or give your fellow countrypersons (ha) an STD, then salute your country"s flag? Why? If honor means any thing to you, be consistent. Anyone getting rude over this, (and a lot of diplomatic responses are here, the large majority) a mere naming of an object, could their own life withstand the same degree of scrutiny? So chill. Let's applaud that order is being brought to near chaos, even if we are not thrilled w/ every decision.

Jeffrey de Fourestier January 31, 2012 04:38AM
When mistakes are made and one becomes aware of them then they should be corrected.

By inventing names that are not necessary one is not creating order out of chaos rather one is creating chaos out of order. I would like to point out that hancockite is only one example as there are others. Perhaps there needs to be a more formalised method by which one could petition the commission to consider the reinstatement of names.
Alfredo Petrov January 31, 2012 06:29AM
A lot of silly mistakes could be avoided before they became entrenched by having a 6-month comment period before an issue was finalized by committee vote.
Keith Compton January 31, 2012 09:32AM
I know I am being a bit flippant and I am not meaning to be disrespectful in any way to these esteemed individuals but why not start a move to change the names of the minerals named after the members of the IMA.

Perhaps then they may see that keeping the current “old” names – makes as much sense as changing them:

Pete Williams . Petewilliamsite Could become: Asnicoite (simply referring to its elements)

Marco Pasero .. Paseroite Could maybe become: Senaite-(V)

Akira KATO .... Katoite Perhaps could become: Hydroxy grossular

Ernst A.J. BURKE
Not named after him but has his name anyway Burkeite could become:... Sulphohalite –(carbontrioxide)

Joel D. GRICE.... Griceite with the formula LiF ... Perhaps could simply become … Thatslifeite


Reiner Mielke January 31, 2012 02:23PM
You've got my vote Jeffrey. Good idea Alfredo, maybe they should officially pass it through the mindat membership during that 6 month period as well.
Jeffrey de Fourestier February 03, 2012 01:18AM
By the way Keith there is an Ernstburkeite that you could add to the list of minerals you proposed should have their names changed.
Keith Compton February 14, 2012 12:08PM
Hi Jeffrey

I hadn't picked up on that one

As I believe it has to be stored in a very cold place perhaps simply rename it as ... Ice-(Mg) !!

I know, just being even more flippant!!

More wine please !!

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