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Obsolete Mineral Names

Posted by Luc Vandenberghe  
Luc Vandenberghe August 14, 2012 05:17PM
Bayliss's Glossary of Obsolete Mineral Names is now free online :
Dan R. Lynch August 14, 2012 06:35PM
Wow, a nice resource when researching old specimens.

But I was doing a quick glance over a few pages and found "emery" in there. I wasn't aware that this term was considered obsolete. Of course it's not a mineral; I understand that emery is a granular mixture of corundum/magnetite/spinel, but I still consider this to be the "true" name for this kind of association. Opinions?
Luc Vandenberghe August 14, 2012 06:45PM
Yes, It's Wikipedia...
The informations are not always valid, I know...

Greetings from Belgium.
David Von Bargen August 14, 2012 07:13PM
It isn't a mineral name, but rather more of a rock name.

From preface
"The title of this compilation, Glossary of Obsolete Mineral Names, refers to all of those names used for mineral substances throughout history, which are not now considered valid or current. Each mineral today can have only a single name; minor variations insufficient to represent a different species are not named independently as they once were. Nor does modern mineralogical science recognize the gemological important color variations with independent names. Thus ruby and sapphire are merely corundum to the mineralogist."
"This compilation has been designed as a companion to Fleischer's Glossary of Mineral Species 2008, a series of editions begun in 1971 by Michael Fleischer and continued by Malcolm E. Back and Joseph A. Mandarino. This compilation covers the huge trail of discarded nomenclature left by many generations of mineralogists and still encountered regularly in older literature and mineral labels. Although no compilation of such an extensive subject could be perfectly complete, the odds are extremely high that any mineral name the modern collector, dealer or scientist might encounter will be found either in Fleischer's Glossary of Mineral Species 2008 or here."
Dan R. Lynch August 14, 2012 07:20PM
Ah, of course I missed the most obvious part: the title. "Obsolete MINERAL Names." As I said, I know emery is a mixture of minerals, therefore a rock. I just overlooked the obvious yet again...
Uwe Ludwig August 14, 2012 09:12PM
I think obsolete mineral names is not the rigth name for this listings. If a mineral have an English spelling means not that for example the German name of this mineral is obsolete. I am not sure if only the English language is valid for the mineralogy and all the other languages are obsolete at this field of science.

Uwe Ludwig
David Von Bargen August 14, 2012 11:41PM
The next paragraph in the Preface:
"Only the original ending is given to indicate the language of origin. These endings are as follows: -ite (English, French, Italian, Portuguese), -ita (Spanish, Brazilian), -iet (Dutch, Afrikaner), -itt (Norwegian), and -it (Swedish, Hungarian, German), but -(l)ith (German). Occasionally, the endings -ine (English, French, Italian, Portuguese), -ina (Spanish, Brazilian), -ien (Dutch, Afrikaner), or -in (Norwegian, Swedish, Hungarian, German) are used instead. Only the original name is given, if a mineral name may contain a space or hyphen or neither. Plurals are not given; however, the original diacritical marks are included. Capitals are used for proper names including trade names in English and all nouns but not adjectives in German and Swedish."
Bart Cannon August 15, 2012 12:47AM
One of my favorite customers from the old Tucson Desert Inn days was Dr. Gretchen Luepke. She was a USGS mineralogist from Denver, I think.

She was a very tall blonde. She may still be around. She was minerals 24-7.

When she walked into my room 201 I knew it would only be two or three minutes before she would begin to rail against the re-naming of sphene to titanite. There is no charm to the name titanite, but SPHENE is a beautiful name !!! She would cry out.

I think at the time I was still using the name sphene. But it could have been the other way around.

BRING BACK SPHENE !!! I'm with Gretchen.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/15/2012 12:52AM by Bart Cannon.
Paul Brandes August 15, 2012 02:20AM
I'm sure if you could convince the Occupy Wall Street crowd that capitalists were responsible for the name titanite, you'd have hundreds of them picketing somewhere with signs that read "Down with capitalism: Bring back sphene!"..... :-D

Now for something to do with this thread; thank you Luc for sharing this valuable resource.
Erik Vercammen August 15, 2012 09:55AM
The paragraph cited by David Von Bargen can also be useful for Mindat, instead of adding a lot of synonyms with only a difference in the last letter(s).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/15/2012 12:29PM by Erik Vercammen.
David Von Bargen August 15, 2012 08:36PM
There was an early hope that we could add mineral pages in other languages (now it looks as if translation software will get there faster). One advantage now is that you can enter the names in mineral lists and you end up with the correct mineral.
Luc Vandenberghe August 30, 2012 07:20PM
Many of these names were considered synonyms ...

Unfortunately, it is clear that all this confusion comes from copying mistakes until 2008!!.

It's understandable that synonyms may have existed.
However, in the current state of mineralogical science is no longer allowed!
The authors must reread their works well before the final printing of the text!
The translation of a language to another is also an important source of errors ... Just read a few pages of this work and you will be convinced!
That's why I advocate for the sole use of names as recognized by the IMA.
I think it is only in mineralogy that we allow differences such as changing the C in K, X in KS (these are just examples) or change any endings!
In other disciplines there is no need to call an insect, fossil by a name other than that it has been awarded.
Than labor saved if a mineral species had only one name!
David Von Bargen August 30, 2012 11:59PM
Actually, there are synonyms (common names) in other disciplines. Not too many people will know what a Danaus plexippus Ior Clypeasteroida refer to.

I wonder if people would really care to support "Save the Ailuropoda melanoleuca"

(Monarch butterfly, sand dollar, Panda)
Luc Vandenberghe August 31, 2012 04:45PM
Carl von Linné must be turning in his grave...

David Von Bargen August 31, 2012 08:08PM
There actually were some early attempts to set up a Linnean naming convention for minerals
(Regnum lapideum).
Classis 1. Petræ (rocks)
Classis 2. Mineræ (minerals and ores)
Classis 3. Fossilia (fossils and aggregates)
Ralph Bottrill September 01, 2012 03:48AM
Linnaeus's Classification in 1758 also had: 4. Vitamentra (not sure what these were?).

I think other early mineralogists used his principles for classifying minerals, but they had little knowledge of chemistry or crystal structures then. Present classification systems by Strunz, Nickel etc are pretty good, but could perhaps be more widely used.

At times I have thought the Linnaean binomial classification could be useful for minerals, eg Garnet katoite makes its nature more obvious, but unfortunately we would still end up with horrid names like Amphibole chloro-potassic-ferro-edenite!

Interesting too, to look at the arguments about synonyms in biology. Biologists have a formal scientific name, which may have any number of informal, usually local, "common names". Eg. Eucalyptus regnans may be a swamp gum in Tasmania and a mountain gum in Victoria, but the scientists don't care too much as long as they have their formal names. Unfortunately they have problems with splitters too, and eucalypts have been split into 3 groups, which most people try to ignore, but served some needy academics with some more publications to their name.

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