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Mineral Nomenclature and Colour

Nature volume 100, page 335 (27 December 1917) | Download Citation



A PAPER by Mr. Edgar T. Wherry on “The Nomenclature and Classification of the Native Element Minerals” (Journ. Washington Acad. Sci., vol. vii., p. 447, August, 1917) is remarkable for its advocacy of the use of adjectival prefixes for varieties, rather than special or compound names, which involve, as may be remarked, an additional tax upon the memory. This attitude is so very rare among scientific men that the attention of all naturalists may be directed to it. Mr. Wherry thus gives us “mercuriferous silver” for one end of the. amalgam series and “argentiferous mercury” for the other, while the former name swallows up arquerite, bordosite, and kongsbergite. “Rhodiferous gold” replaces rhodite and “ferriferous nickel” awaruite, josephinite, occtibehite, and souesite. The realisation that time is very often lost and not gained by the use of technical names instead of descriptive word-groupings will make mineralogists regard Mr. Wherry's work with favour. His paper, however, is much more than a revision of nomenclature, since the element minerals are critically reviewed, with a number of valuable references to recent work.

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