Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Acronym in mineralogy: CNMMN for Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names

The Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names (CNMMN) is part of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA). It was established in 1959 with the task of controlling the introduction of new minerals and mineral names and dealing with nomenclature matters in mineralogy [1]. In July 2006, the CNMMN was merged with the Commission on Classification of Minerals to form the Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names (CNMMN) [2].

The acronym CNMMN is found in various articles published before the merger. For example, a paper of 1987 discusses the procedure for the submission of a mineral name proposal and provides criteria for selecting a new name based on chemical composition and crystallographic properties, particularly dealing with polymorphs, polytypes, regular interstratifications, adjectival modifiers as well as group and varietal names [3]. Examples of name decision making are provided.

There are mineral classes and subgroups and, accordingly, there are subcommittees for the revision and approval of the nomenclature of material classes. What about the classification and naming of chain silicates such as amphiboles? Yes, there is (or was) a subcommittee on it; and changing nomenclature they did [4]: alkali amphiboles became sodic amphiboles, names like tremolitic horblende (now magnesiohornblende), crossite (now glaucophane or ferroglaucophane or magnesioriebeckite or riebeckite), tirodite (now manganocummingtonite) and dannemorite (now manganogrunerite) were abolished and new amphibole names such as nyböite, leakeite, kornite, ungarettiite, sandanagaite and cannilloite were approved.

Keywords: history of organizations, nomenclature, terms in mineralogy, crystallography, solid state chemistry 

[1] Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names (CNMMN):
[2] Objectives and officers:
[3] E. H. Nickel and J. A. Mandarino: Procedures involving the IMA Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names and guidelines on mineral nomenclature. American Mineralogist 1987, 72, 1031-1042 [].
[4] B. L. Leake et al.: Nomenclature of Amphiboles: Report of the Subcommittee on Amphiboles of the International Mineralogical Association, Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names. The Canadian Mineralogist 1997, 35, 219-246 [].

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