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Posted by Chris Deroo  
Chris Deroo September 04, 2012 01:56PM

On what basis rests the statement that Aragonite is named after the type locality Molina de Aragon and not the Spanish region Aragon ?
Is there a text ? So far, I didn’t find any, or is it just guesswork ?
Thanks for any reply
Kind regards,

David Von Bargen September 04, 2012 02:14PM
Rruff usually has the relevant type descriptions available.

Werner (1788) - my reading of old style German printing isn't too up to date.

Hauy C (1791) Sur l'arragonite de Werner, Bulletin des Science, par la Société Philomathique 2, 67-68
"They are found in Espaque between the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, which has been called by Werner Arragonites, there are also near the Pyrenees"
Chris Deroo September 04, 2012 03:17PM
Thanks David for your reply, but the problem remains. For instance :

The text from Werner (1788) does not give a locality. What’s more, the mineral around that time hadn’t even received its name.

The text from Haüy dates from ‘frimaire of the republican year 7’, which is from November 22th to December 21st 1799 and not 1791 as stated in Rruff. In that text Haüy says ‘that the mineral is found in Spain between the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, and that’s why it is called Aragonite by Werner’, which only refers to the kingdom.

And there is more evidence in that direction. The German geologist and mineralogist Johann Joseph Christian Herrgen (1765 - 1816), who worked mostly in Spain in his ‘Anales de Historia Natural’ from 1799 says about Aragonite : ‘El Aragonito se encuentra en Aragon, y por eso le dió Werner este nombre’. (Aragonite is found in Aragon, that’s why Werner gave it its name).

The statement that Werner mistakenly placed the type locality Molina de Aragon in the Aragon region, while in reality it belongs to Guadalajara is also wrong. Molina de Aragon belonged to the kingdom of Aragon since 1369. The term ‘de Aragon’ has a reason. It is only in 1812 during the independance war (1808 – 1814) that Molina de Aragon became part of the province Guadalajara as is stated by the Spanish historian Antonio Herrera Casado in his work ‘Molina de Aragón : Veinte siglos de historia’ (Molina de Aragon: twenty centuries of history) : ‘El año siguiente, quando en Cádiz surgia la prímera Constitución espagñola, los diputados de Molina hacián sonar su voz de infatigable deceo de autonomía y libertad. Incorporada al territoria de Cuenca, fue luego reconocido el Señorío como parte de la provincia de Guadalajara, passando finalmente a ser incluido dentro de esta demarcación geográfico-adminstrativa’. So when Werner gave the mineral its name ‘arragon’ around 1796, he was right, Molina de Aragon still belonged to Aragon !

So until now, all the evidence I’ve found for the name Aragonite points to the Aragon province and not the type locality Molina de Aragon. And my question remains : ‘On what basis rests the statement that Aragonite is named after the type locality Molina de Aragon and not the Spanish region Aragon ? Is there a text or was it just guess-work ?

David Von Bargen September 04, 2012 03:52PM
The type locality in Hey's Mineral Index 3rd ed. lists the type locality as Molina and Valencia, near Migranilla, Aragon, Spain

The reference he uses is AG Werner (1797) in FJA Ester, Versuch. Min. 2,1039
Alfredo Petrov September 04, 2012 04:47PM
We need to go back further than Werner... The first description of the mineral we now know as aragonite was by a Spaniard: Torrubia (1754) "Aparato para la Historia Natural Española", and the locality his described "hexagons" came from was the village, Molina de Aragon, which is not in Aragon. It seems that aragonite crystals had at that time already been dug abundantly here and were already distributed among collectors. Later, when these were redescribed and renamed by northern Europeans who had never visited the type locality, the geography got screwed up. Werner had a history of doing this - His andalusite wasn't from Andalusia either, for similar reasons - lack of familiarity with Spanish geography, basically.

The indefatigable and notoriously meticulous Spanish mineralogical bibliographer Dr. Miguel Calvo at the University of Zaragoza is publishing on this topic.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2012 04:19PM by Alfredo Petrov.
Chris Deroo September 04, 2012 06:05PM
Thank you David and Alfredo,

But I think you just proved my point

David : The type locality given by Hey is correct as far as he gives the place in Aragon. At the moment Werner named the mineral, Molina de Aragon was part of that province.

Alfredo : The type locality is indeed Molina de Aragon as given by Torrubia and is not in Aragon, today ! But it certainly was when Torrubia described it.
I agree that Werner mixed up geographically when he named the mineral. But that just means that Werner named the mineral after the province and not after the type locality.

So strictly speaking, the type locality of Aragonite is undoubtedly Molina de Aragon, which today is in Guadalajara, but at the end of the XVIIIe century was in Aragon and Werner named the mineral Aragonite mistakenly after the province and not after the type locality, which he probably didn’t even knew, as you say.

Has Dr. Calvo already published upon the subject ?

Kind regards,
Emilio Fernández September 04, 2012 07:20PM
I think there is a mistake.
In Spain the actual provinces ("provincias") was established in 1833. In Werners time there was medieval divisions and the territory could belong to a few persons: "señor" (lord), "marqués" (marquis), "duque" (duke), ...And the territory had the name of these persons. In the case of Molina de Aragón was "Señorío de Molina" and belonged to the kingdom of Castile ("Corona de Castilla").
From the same book you have cited: ‘Molina de Aragón : Veinte siglos de historia’ there is a transcription to wikipedia: (in spanish)

"Señorío de Molina" almost always belonged to Castilla, so when Werner put the name belonged to the kingdom of Castile.
The other "type locality" was Minglanilla (not Mingranilla) also in the kingdom of Castile (close to the kingdom of Valencia (in "Corona de Aragón") ). Now its known that the salt mine where it's possible to find aragonite belongs to "La Pesquera" municipality ("municipio") and not to Minglanilla.

Miguel Calvo has a web page where you can read what he has published in his books: (in spanish)

He thinks that Werner puts the name according to labels or references where appeared the name "Molina de Aragón" and not "Aragón". I think we don´t know what were the reasons of Werner but it's almost sure (you must read the web page) that the samples he knew was from Molina and not Aragon, so the mineral has its name due to Molina not Aragon.
Frank de Wit September 04, 2012 07:31PM
Nice discussion. Good.
I see that there were no pictures yet of the locality itself... Incredible.
So I am uploading some ;)
Cheers, Frank

ps1: there are x localities around Molina de Aragón where it's relatively easy to find aragonite. Most of those localities have a nice view towards the castle in the village. I only uploaded pictures of the outcrop above the Gallo river though (NW of the village). The other localities perhaps later when I have more time.

ps2: I have strong doubts, that the larger aragonite crystals in the gallery are actually from the Gallo river. At the Gallo river, on multiple visits, I have only seen smaller crystals. The larger crystals are relatively easy to find on the south side of Molina de Aragón where I took this picture ( ). The Gallo river runs a few kilometers north of there... Sorry to add this to the discussion ;)

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/04/2012 08:01PM by Frank de Wit.
Chris Deroo September 05, 2012 04:01PM
Thanks to all, for the useful clarifications.

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