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Mineralogical Almanac  

News on February 20 -- March 15, 2004


Meetings, conference, exhibitions


On February 25 professor Aleksander M. Portnov (MGGRU) has spoke at a Mineralogical Circle in the Fersman Mineralogical Museum RAS with a lecture “Witvatersrand (Republic of South Africa) is a formation of deep conglomerates”, in which the riddles of genesis of this largest in the world gold deposit was considered. Also he demonstrated the samples of so-called framboidal pyrite from Kochbulak deposit (Uzbekistan). Already twenty years ago the study of geology and ores of Uzbek deposit had allowed him proposing the original hypothesis of Witvatersrand formation.


Memorable dates

On February 21, 1995, [in Kemerovo] Kuznetsk Geological Museum was opened as a Department of Kuzbass State Technical University.

February 24, 1910. Birthday of Hugo Strunz, famous German mineralogist, author of “Mineralogical Tables”. The mineral strunzite was named in his honor.

February 25, 1907. Birthday of Aleksei A. Bogdanov (dead 1971), geologist and tectonist, pro-rector of MSU, dean of Geological Department. The mineral bogdanowite was named in his honor.

March 8, 1897. Birthday of Anatolii G. Betekhtin (dead 1962), mineralogist and specialist in ore deposits, academician, author of “Mineralogy”, the most complete course published in Russian. The mineral betekhtinite was named in his honor.

March 9, 1830. Birthday of Pavel V. Eremeev (dead 1899), prominent Russian mineralogist, academician, professor of Gornyi Institute (Saint Petersburg), director of Mineralogical Society, author of more than 400 articles devoted to crystal morphology, mineral intergrowths, pseudomorphs etc. The mineral jeremejevite was named in his honor.

On March 10, 1955, the question about carrying out the first Mineral and Gem Show in Tucson was decided, and the Show took place in ten days.

March 12, 1863. Birthday of Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (dead 1945), great scientist-naturalist, mineralogist, and geochemist, academician. The mineral vernadite was named in his honor.

March 15, 1890. Birthday of Boris Nikolaevich Delone (dead 1890), mathematician and crystallographer. The mineral deloneite was named in his honor.

March 15, 1932. Birthday of Oleg V. Kononov, mineralogist, teacher of Moscow State University.

March 15, 1938. Birthday of Margarita Ivanovna Novgorodova, mineralogist, specialist in gold, director of Fersman Mineralogical Museum RAS. The mineral novgorodovaite is named in her honor.

On March 15, 2002 the first meeting of Friends of Mineralogy Club took place. From that time the meetings are held on Fridays in the Fersman Mineralogical Museum RAS each week (more than 80 meetings in two years).


On Book Shelve


The Tucson Show. A Fifty-Year History by Bob Jones.
Special Supplement to The Mineralogical Record. Tucson, 2004. – 183 p.

It is a very interesting review of Tucson Show, the attempt to consider its phenomenon from the all sides. The author had an exactly complicated task: to tell about incredibly saturated fifty-year history of the largest in the world Gem and Mineral Show (TGMS) in the volume of a small book. The numerous photos, which are watched as the cadres of interesting newsreel, have helped him to decide this task. More than 50 color photos of remarkable crystals, groups, nuggets, faceted stones, yet 60 photos of showcases with mineral samples (general view), and the main, the history in faces: more than 250 photos of participants and organizers of the show (collectors, dealers, mineralogists et al.), beginning from Bob Roots, who was the inspiration for the first show in 1955, Clayton Gibson (Show Chairman in 1956, 1961, and 1973) and young Richard Bideaux, sole of the dealers, who took part in the Tucson Show all 50 years (from 1955 to 2004), to Terry Wallace (TGMS Show Chairman in 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, and 2000).

The main part of review tells about show according to years and don’t defy brief retelling. Its contours are denoted by the real parade of magnificent samples in photos. We shall note some of them, most famous and even “great” findings: such as rhodochrosite from Sweet Home mine (Colorado, USA), phosphophyllite from Cerro Rico (Potosí, Bolivia), ring meteorite “Tucson Ring”, gigantic crystal of quartz (~2 m in size). The geography of proper American samples is especially wide: from Canada (pyrite from Nanisivik on the North) up to Chili (11.000 pound block of lazurite). Among the photos from Europe the following are stood out: wire silver from Kongsberg, liroconite from Cornwall, and pink fluorite on quartz crystal from Monblan. Africa in illustrations is presented by faceted anglesite from Morocco (weight 270 carats), treasures of Tsumeb (azurite, mimetesite, cerussite), and rhodochrosite from N’Chwaning mine (Republic of South Africa). Among all countries Brasilia is notable by topaz-imperial, euclase crystal 50 mm in size from Oru-Pretu region, chrysoberyl, crystals of pink quartz from Pitorra mine. The largest place in this parade, of course, is got to minerals from USA. Here there are the most famous findings: pyromorphite from Bunker Hill (Idaho), aurichalcite from 79 Mine, Arizona, wulfenite from Red Cloud mine, and cuprite (crystals up to 26 mm in size) from Bisbi, gold from California (the group of 29 cm in height from Colorado Quartz mine), barite (Meicle mine) and amazonite from Colorado, fluorapatite from state Man (Pulsifer quarry), linarite from New-Mexico (Blanchard mine).

The minerals from Russia have begun to appear on the Tucson Show in appreciable quantities in the last 10-15 years. In 1993 sperrylite from Oktyabr’skii mine (F. John Barlow collection) has received the Walt Lindstrom Memorial Award. In 2001 “Minerals of Russia” was the theme of Tucson Show, on the poster the orange-red quartz from Dal’negorsk was reproduced. In the photo competition the first place was awarded to Bruce Paul Gabor (galena from 2 Sovetskii mine, Dal’negorsk), and the second place – to Sugar White for photograph of silver from Sarbai mine (Kazakhstan).

In enclosure there are the themes of main show according to years, the minerals on the posters, the owners of prizes and awards of Tucson Show.

Important index of minerals of former USSR (by materials published in the journal “World of Stones”)

Mineral Index with Localities for the former Soviet Union based on “World of Stones”. Compiled [by William Shelton] for the 30th Rochester Mineralogical Symposium April 3-7, 2003.

It is a good present for those, who are interested by mineral findings around the entire world. The compiler of the index William Shelton notes, “It is, at this time, the only comprehensive English reference to great many localities and species from the former Soviet Union”. Sufficiently often ones ask the question, “How many minerals are known on the territory of the Russia (or USSR)?”. This question is open. Now relatively precisely only the quantity of new species is possible to name (see the summary of Igor V. Pekov). Nevertheless, as it is found out now, the findings of more than 1000 minerals (species and some verities) are noted for the territory of the former USSR in the journal “World of Stones” published in 1993-1997. The index with volume of 173 pages (!) is made as table: in the first column there are the minerals from A to Z, after that from left to right there are the following columns: locality – region (republic) – volume number – journal page – note about sample photo (if it is present). The findings of each single mineral are arranged in the alphabet of the regions (areas) and republics of the former USSR and then in the alphabet of the localities. By the quantity of references among vast mineral list (nearly 1000 names) one can choose the main minerals, peculiar virtual collection “Minerals of the USSR”. At the top there are the three groups:

1) more than 90 references: quartz ~ 215, calcite ~ 174, pyrite ~ 96, fluorite and topaz – in 91s;

2) from 50 to 90 references: beryl and magnetite – in 87s, barite – 82, rhodonite – 78, apatite – 77, amethyst – 74, gypsum – 67, phlogopite – 65, malachite – 60, agate and diopside – in 59s, sphalerite and spinel – in 58s, hematite – 57, microcline – 56, scheelite and tourmaline – in 55s, celestine – 54, galena – 53, gold, cinnabar, titanite, zircon, and chacedony – in 51s, chalcopyrite – 50;

3) from 20 to 50 references – 70 minerals, among them there are following species: *charoite – 49, cassiterite – 48, albite – 45, corundum – 44, *phenakite – 38, rutile – 43, silver – 42, scapolite – 41, goethite and epidote – in 40s, copper – 38, andradite, antimonite, aragonite, and danburite – in 37s, muscovite – 36, axinite and azurite – in 35s, natrolite – 34, forsterite – 33, bertrandite and eudialyte – in 32s, turquoise – 30, pyrrhotite – 29, aquamarine, datolite, chrome-diopside, and elbaite – in 28s, acanthite, diamond, wulfenite, nepheline, and orthoclase – in 27s, *perovskite – 26, analcime, brookite, hambergite, pyrochlore, rhodochrosite, and sulfur – in 25s, acanthite and lorenzenite – in 24s, apophyllite, wollastonite, and schorl – in 23s, orpiment and *monazite – in 22s, emerald, bismuth, and euclase – in 21s, villaumite and cerussite – in 20s (note: * - minerals firstly found in Russia).


Rare hand-book E.S. Dana and “Mineralogy of the USSR”

Descriptive Mineralogy (Handbook) by Dana E.S.. Supplemented translation from English.
General edition of A.E. Fersman and O.M. Shubnikova. L. – M., ONTI, 1937. 423 pp. (Dana E. S.  A Textbok of Mineralogy. Part V. Descriptive Mineralogy. 4 ed. rev. a. enlarg. by W. Foord. New York, 1932)

In the foreword to this handbook the academician Aleksander E. Fersman notes the exceptional need for knowledge of mineralogy for engineers, chemists, geologists, geochemists, and mineralogists for that period. Unfortunately, at that time there was no necessary handbook on Russian, and, by Ol’ga M. Shubnikova’s initiative, the brief book of E. Dana was chosen to translation. Realizing that this book has a number of defects (“it does not include all mineral species, …the descriptions of genesis became out of date, and the lists of deposits suit the demands mainly of American reader”), A.E. Fersman emphasizes that translators and editors inserted the important additions: 115 new minerals, and, above all, numerous examples of mineral findings, their localities in the USSR were entered. As a result by the quantity of references in Russian version of the handbook among localities of entire world there are the following leaders: Vesuvia (88), Franklin and Sterling Hill (80), Khibiny (59), Cornwall (56, the total of deposits), Longban (48), Schneeberg (47), Ilmeny (45), Freiberg (42), Langesundfiord (40), Nordmark (40), Arendal (33), Yakhimov (33), Prshibram (32). Altogether in the locality index to Russian version of the handbook, which was made by A.A. Evseev (was not published), there are more than 5000 geographical names. Even after 70 years “Descriptive Mineralogy” of E.S. Dana remains the most valuable handbook on the important mineral findings at the territory of the former USSR as a whole and the main deposits of its regions. We shall remind that in 1927 the work on the project “Mineralogy of the USSR” was begun, which was interrupted by the War, but some published books of A and B series contain the most rich factual material about mineral findings at a sixth part of the land. This data, evidently, was used in Russian edition of “Descriptive Mineralogy” of E.S. Dana, and the books of these series became the predecessors of the largest in this genre handbook “Minerals”. Russian edition of “Descriptive Mineralogy” was published on December, 1936, the edition is 5000 copies. In the last ten years the interest to the mineralogy is reduced, that also reduced the quantity of the volumes of handbook “Minerals” published during 1960-2003 from 7000 copies (volume I, 1960) to 2800 copies (volume III, number 1, 1972), and, at last, up to 400 copies (volume V, 2003).

Some books from the series of “Minerals of the USSR”:

Minerals of the USSR. V. I. Native elements. M. – L.: Izd. AN SSSR, 1940.

Minerals of the USSR. V. II. Sulfides, sulphosalts, and compounds similar to them. Chief editor acad. A.E. Fersman. M. – L.: Izd. AN SSSR, 1940. – 748 pp.

Mineralogy of the USSR (by general edition of acad. A.E. Fersman). Series B, number 1. Literature about minerals of South Urals. Edited by O.M. Shubnikova. L.: Izd. AN SSSR, 1933. – 160 pp.

Mineralogy of the Soviet Union (by general edition of acad. A.E. Fersman). Series A, number 2. E.E. Kostyleva, M.E. Vladimirova. Zircon. L., 1934. – 83 pp.

Mineralogy of the Soviet Union (by general edition of acad. A.E. Fersman). Series A, number 3. E.M. Bonshtedt. Titanite. L., 1934. – 63 pp.

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