Thursday, 22 April 2010

New, improved list of mineral abbreviations

I just found out about a newly published list of mineral names. A fairly high percentage of the geologic papers I’ve read have cited the 1983 paper by Kretz, Symbols For Rock-Forming Minerals, as a quick and easy way to state what they mean by the various abbreviations they used for mineral names, rather than wasting words in the paper stating that garnet is “Grt”, etc. However, 1983 is a rather long time ago, as far as papers are concerned, and that article listed only 193 minerals. Therefore I was delighted to hear about the newly published Abbreviations For Names of Rock-Forming Minerals by Whitney & Evans 2010. Their list expands on the 1983 list, giving us 371 mineral names to choose from (still only a drop in the bucket compared to the over 5,000 which are known, but this list includes the major rock-forming minerals). Like Kretz before them, they chose a format wherein all abbreviations consist of two or three letters (or rarely four if truly necessary to distinguish it from another). Unlike Kretz they also required that none of the mineral names conflict with the abbreviations used for elements of the periodic table (therefore, while they mostly keep the forms suggested in 1983, occasionally they changed them).
This expanded list will be very handy, and I’ve already copied it into an Excel spreadsheet and adjusted the formatting such that I can see the complete list on a single page.


Ilmarinenos said...

Thank you for posting this! I read the post last week and quickly grabbed the PDF. I've never been formally instructed what mineral abbreviations are typically used, and had resigned myself to picking them up as I learn, so it is great to have a reference list now.

A Life Long Scholar said...

You are welcome, I'm glad it has been useful for someone.