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Mineralogical Almanac  

Min Almanac_#11

by Dr. Igor V. Pekov

Mineralogical Almanac, volume 11, 2007.  ISBN 5-900395-19-7
New Minerals Discovered on the Territory of the Former Soviet Union, part 2.

Ocean Pictures Ltd and Association Ecost
112 pages, 51 crystal drawings, 21 SEM photos of minerals, 66 color photos of minerals, 14 color landscape photos, 214 references
, soft cover. Price: $45

The issue is a reference book on minerals first discovered on the territory of the former Soviet Union in the period of 1998 first half of 2006. 163 minerals have been included: 159 new species and 4 minerals restored in the status of individual species. Detailed geography of the type localities, history of discovery, a brief description, origin of the name, information on museums where type specimens are deposited and literature references have been presented for each mineral. A lot of first-published information is given. The statistic data on these minerals, English-Russian geographic and personal indexes and a list of all minerals first discovered on the territory of the former Soviet Union are included.

                                                         Supporting organizations:
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Geological Society

Introduction                                                                                                                                      Contents 

In January 1998, Ocean Pictures published Minerals First Discovered on the Territory of the Former Soviet Union, a compilation that described 582 mineral species first discovered within the geographic boundaries of the former Soviet Union. The book examined mineral discoveries from 1766, when crocoite, first Russian mineral, was discovered, through early 1997 (Pekov, 1998). After this publication, the author continued compilation of the data on new mineral discoveries in Russia and all other former Soviet Union countries. This review should be considered as a continuation of that earlier work; it is similar not only in concept, but also in internal structure.

First, this compilation is presented with a historical and geographical perspective. It is focused on those data which are usually very brief in original mineral descriptions. Hence, you will not find physical and chemical constants of new minerals here, because they are published in the easily available reference publications and in numerous internet databases. Rather, the main part of this work consists of brief characteristics of 163 minerals, with each entry describing in some detail the type locality(ies) and history of the mineral's study. The descriptions include a chemical formula, relationships with the other mineral species, a brief mineral description from the first discovered site (morphology and size, setting and associated minerals), origin of the name, information on museums where type specimens are deposited (including their catalogue numbers), the IMA number assigned by the Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names of the International Mineralogical Association, and literature references.

In order to determine the precise geographic location and history of each mineral's discovery, and to gather information about the people in whose honor the minerals were named, the author contacted the scientists who originally published descriptions of these new minerals. As a result, this book is not just a newly formatted reference work, but it also contains some additional, previously unpublished information.

The author attempted to secure the most precise and detailed geography of the type localities, considering these data as very important. Where possible, the precise names or numbers of the ore bodies, pegmatites, mine workings, depth in drillholes, etc. are mentioned. In contrast to the minerals discovered and published in the USSR during a sadly-known period of secrecy involving the geographic information of ore deposits, the recently discovered minerals do not present such a problem. However, not all the descriptions contain sufficiently precise geographical information. For example, only regions were reported for mitryaevaite and wiluite. In addition, personal experience showed that English publications, and especially internet databases, often contained wrong geographical information for the former USSR. Incorrect spelling of the geographic names is also common, possibly due to improper transliteration from the original Russian. For these reasons, the book also contains an Appendix with geographic names in both English and the original Russian spelling.

For most minerals in this review, the history of discovery and scientific study is simple and limited to one or two publications. For the others, the discovery or approval of the mineral species status was accompanied by certain events which are of some interest to the history of mineralogy. These are wiluite, georgbarsanovite, gmelinite-K, makarochkinite, kurgantaite, sphaerobertrandite, turanite, chloro-potassichastingsite and several others. Their history of study is described in as much detail as possible.

The Name chapter provides information on the origin of mineral names. Its main purpose is to provide additional information about the people in whose honor the mineral names were given. This information was not always complete in the original publications. The author attempted to provide full names, dates of birth (and death, for deceased), principal activity and primary or last places of work. The names of the cities which were subsequently renamed are given according to the time when these people worked there. The Appendix also contains an English-Russian list of personal names after whom the cited minerals are named.

The book contains an important chapter on Type Specimens (TS). TS are understood here as a studied sample (lump, grain, thin or polished section, etc) of a new mineral from the type locality, which was given to the repositing museum by the discoverers. The original material used in revision studies is also considered as TS, when those studies were focused on the confirmation of mineral species of dubious validity (neotype). The vast majority of TS minerals discovered in the former Soviet Union between 1998 and 2006 are kept in Russian museums. The Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow has the largest and most representative collection of these type specimens. Information about the exact location of TS and their catalogue numbers in the museum collections was taken directly from the museum inventory books and electronic databases. These data were kindly provided by the curators of the leading Russian museums, namely Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow, Mineralogical Museum of St.-Petersburg State University, Mining Museum of St.-Petersburg Mining Institute, Geological Museum of Geological Institute in Apatity, and Natural Science Museum of Ilmeny State Reserve in Miass, Urals. Control checking was undertaken based on the data published in the papers on new mineral discoveries. Unfortunately, it was not always possible to confirm the presence of the type specimen in the museum where it was reported to be according to the published descriptions (if the catalog number was not quoted). In this respect, it seems reasonable to oblige the authors of new mineral descriptions to indicate not only the repositing museum name, but also the TS catalogue number as well.

The illustrations play an important role in this review. These are mostly color and black-and-white (scanning electron-microscope) photographs of the mineral specimens, crystal drawings and 'landscape' photos at the type localities. The majority of color photographs of mineral specimens were taken by N.A. Pekova.

The main portion of the book is a list of brief descriptions of 159 minerals approved as new species by the IMA Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names, whose descriptions were published between 1998 and first half of 2006. This number also includes: (1) minerals whose descriptions are not yet published but which are in press and mentioned here upon approval of the authors; 2) mitryaevaite, whose description was published at the end of 1997 and therefore was not included into the previous book (Pekov, 1998). In addition, the book contains data on four 'old' minerals for which the new data were obtained, resulting in approval to re-establish them as valid species, e.g., chloro-potassichastingsite (former dashkesanite), kurgantaite, sphaerobertrandite, and turanite. As can be seen, the contribution of the last nine years - 163 minerals - constitutes more than 20% of the total number of new species found on the territory of the former Soviet Union during its 240 years of discoveries. It is also worth noting that Russia occupied first place in the world in terms of the number of newly discovered minerals during the last 20 years. The dominant majority of the leading authors of new mineral descriptions are Russian mineralogists as well.

The book also provides necessary corrections related to the data published by Pekov (1998). Finally, the book contains statistical data related to the discovery of new minerals on the territory of the USSR from 1998 to first half of 2006. These are the geography and chronology of the discoveries, the major type localities, the distribution of the minerals within the chemical classes, categorization by the geological formations, size of crystals (aggregates) of the minerals, leading senior authors of the descriptions, and the distribution of original descriptions within various publications.



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Last update: May, 5, 2007