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May-June 2010

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A New Apatite Nomenclature

In 2008, with the goal of “tidying up” mineralogical nomenclature, a scheme for the application of suffixes, hyphens, and diacritical marks was published (Burke 2008). The historical context and full rationale of the nomenclature revision is enumerated in that paper. Among the changes implemented in that revision were the renaming of fluorapatite, chlorapatite and hydroxylapatite, to apatite-(CaF), apatite-(CaCl), and apatite-(CaOH), respectively. Nomenclature changes made to these and other minerals with the apatite structure did not completely consider the structural complexities of these minerals. Furthermore, the new nomenclature changes could rationally be extended to other apatite-group minerals: for example, changing pyromorphite to apatite-(PbCl). In addition, such naming replaces many traditional names given to honor worthy individuals.

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