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November-December 2014

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Who's Who in Mineral Names: Bruce Cairncross (b. 1953)

Cairncrossite, Sr2Ca7(Si4O10)4(OH)4·15H2O, is a triclinic hydrous strontium calcium silicate. It occurs in a stratiform manganese orebody with sugilite and richterite in Block 17, Wessels mine, Hotazel, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. It is similar to the triclinic hydrous sodium calcium aluminum silicate, okenite, and the trigonal hydrous sodium potassium calcium aluminum silicate, reyerite. The holotype specimen was discovered by Ludi von Bezing and was described by Giester et al. (2013). It consists of a pale gray, translucent mass of radiating platy crystals with a somewhat micaceous cleavage. Besides the 8-cm holotype and several fragments, no other specimens or localities for cairncrossite are known. This species is one of fifteen minerals for which the Wessels mine is the type locality. The name honors Prof. Bruce Cairncross, head of the Department of Geology at the University of Johannesburg in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dr. Steven C. Chamberlain, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, is an avid collector and researcher specializing in the minerals of New York State.

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