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American Mineralogist: Journal of Earth and Planetary Materials

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Standards for Mineral Names, Nomenclature, and Abbreviations

Mineral names and abbreviations: Use a consistent set of mineral abbreviations throughout text, tables, and figures. Abbreviations are recommended for subscripts, superscripts, reactions, assemblages (connected with plus signs), and normative mineral symbols with subscript weight percentages; however, abbreviations should not be used for mineral names that stand alone in the text. Whitney and Evans (2010; Am Min, v. 95 no. 1 p. 185-187) has recently suggested a set of abbreviations that may be used. For another example, see L.N. Warr's IMA-CNMNC approved mineral symbols (Mineralogical Magazine, 2021, 85, p. 291-320, 10.1180/mgm.2021.43). However, you may choose another consistent set.

Mineral nomenclature: New mineral names and redefinitions of existing names must be approved by the Commission on New Minerals Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) (Fleischer 1970) before publication. For this purpose, consult the published reports of the Commission on New Minerals Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA). The MSA website hosts many of the IMA Reports.

A Special Note About Nomenclature: Remember it is the author's responsibility to make sure the text, tables and other materials consistently follow the nomenclature recommended by the IMA. Reports detailing the CMNNC approved style for nomenclature for minerals and mineral groups are available.

New mineral names: Authors must provide the Editorial Office with evidence of IMA approval of any new mineral names. Whenever naming new minerals, authors must conform to the rules and principles set forth in Nickel and Mandarino (1987) (excerpt, pdf) or Nickel and Grice (1998) (pdf). The paper by the Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names (1982) should be consulted for a suggested outline for new mineral descriptions. The abstract of a new mineral description should completely list the properties of the mineral in a manner consistent with the "New Mineral Names" section of the journal. The paper by Nickel and Grice (1998) (pdf) gives more information on procedures. Additional information is given by Dunn (1977). Naming of regular interstratifications of clay minerals is discussed by Bailey (1982). In general, manuscripts proposing new names for imperfectly or incompletely described minerals cannot be accepted.

Obsolete, discredited, or superfluous mineral names may not be used. A helpful guide is Glossary of Mineral Species (Fleischer and Mandarino 1995). This glossary is taken as the standard for the spelling of mineral names. However, the editors now allow use of element symbols as prefixes to the approved name of a mineral (e.g., Mg-chlorite, K-feldspar). A list of discredited mineral names and examples of acceptable and unacceptable usages of mineral names appear in Nickel and Mandarino (1987) excerpt, pdf and Nickel and Grice (1998) (pdf).

Meteorite nomenclature: New meteorite names must be approved by the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society [British Museum (Natural History), London, U.K.]. Other meteorite names must conform to the spelling given in the Catalogue of Meteorites or in subsequent numbers of the Meteoritical Bulletin (published in Meteoritics).