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History of minerals first described from the Carpathian Region

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Gábor Papp
added 3 research items
Not only mineralogy has a long tradition in the Carpa-thian region but mineral species, first described from here, also have their own, sometimes a long and eventful, history. A classic example is nagyágite: first found in 1747, described at the end of the 1760s, obtained its present name in 1845 but had the first reliable structural model only in 1999. Discred-ited species may also have their exciting story, even if it has already been ended. Synonyms, language and spelling vari-ants of a given mineral name are also of interest. A compre-hensive review of the history of Carpathian minerals, how-ever, had not been published earlier. To fill this gap a long-term research was begun in the 1990s. A bilingual list of valid and discredited species and names (PAPP & SZAKÁLL, 1996) and a paper containing brief case studies (PAPP, 1997) embodied preliminary results of this project. Publication of the first comprehensive topographical miner-alogy of the Carpathian region (SZAKÁLL, 2002), including a geological background and some mining history, made it possible to concentrate even more on the historical aspects of the minerals of the area and to write a book that can be re-garded as a kind of "historical companion" to that excellent topographical mineralogy. The first version of the book was published in Hungarian (PAPP, 2002), and now an updated, corrected and slightly rearranged English version is available (PAPP, 2004). The book discusses the minerals (and rocks, fossil resins and hydrocarbons) that were first described from the Carpa-thian region (i.e. their type locality is in the region). Informa-tion is arranged alphabetically into 230 entries corresponding to mineral names. They include modern scientific names (terminated by -ite or -ine), outdated scientific names (like descriptive, systematic or chemical names), "popular" or "trivial" names and miners' terms and their spelling variants or misspellings, collected from international handbooks and papers. For each entry the chemical formula and symmetry of the mineral (or an explanation of non-species or invalid species names), a reference to the first publication of the name, his-tory of the mineral, type locality and etymological data are given. The historical part of the entries summarises the most important steps of the research history of the mineral from its discovery and reviews the subsequent changes of its status. Details of the descriptions taken from the original papers (given in PAPP, 2002) are omitted but a selection of their data (chemical analyses and basic crystallographic data) is given in tables. 592 synonyms and spelling variants are listed as cross-references and their data are appended to the relevant entry. The chapters on rocks and fossil resins contain 23 and 21 entries plus 19 and 32 cross-reference entries, respec-tively. The text is illustrated by 85 black and white (mainly crystallographic) drawings. Localities mentioned in the entries are listed in a table with their co-ordinates and most of them are shown in a sketch map. Type localities are briefly described in a separate chapter containing 10 historical pictures. Biographical data of 59 eponyms of minerals (persons, whose name was given to the species) along with 49 portraits are given in a special chapter. Further 12 portraits are in-cluded in the second page of the volume. Detailed bibliographical data of ~1270 references cited in the text can be found in the reference list. Advice and help was given by many colleagues of the countries of the region, among them A. (Slo-vakia) and V. M. Kvasnytsya (Ukraine) can be mentioned first. Some of the chapters were reviewed by F. Pertlik (min-erals), F. Koller, Gy. Lelkes-Felvári, Gy. Szakmány (rocks), M. Hámor-Vidó, N. Vávra (fossil resins and hydrocarbons), J. Földessy, I. Gatter (locality descriptions). Special thanks are due to C. J. Stanley (NHM, London) for the English edit-ing. Publication of the book was sponsored by the grant of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the National Cultural Fund of Hungary (2312/0348) and by the Hungarian Natural History Museum.: A Kárpát-övezetben felfedezett ásványok / Mineral species discovered in the Carpathian area. Miskolc: Herman Ottó Múzeum.
A historical study on the mineral species first described from the Carpathian region is written by the author. Main stages of the research history (first description, major changes in the status of the species, discreditation etc.) are reviewed on the basis of original publications. This paper is an extended and modified version of the preface to that study. After a brief survey of the previous works (regional and international) the geographical and mineralogical scope of this research is discussed. The most important problems of the topic are demonstrated with the examples of several mineral species. A list of valid mineral species first described from the Carpathian region is also given together with some statistical considerations based on this list.
Gábor Papp
added 3 research items
Legends related to carbuncles found in the Carpathian Mts., reports about gem quality garnets mistaken as ruby and data on common garnets from 17th–18th century printed sources and manuscripts are reviewed. Special attention is paid to the “Carpathian carbuncles”, to the occurrence of almandine in the Velická dolina Valley in the High Tatras and to the so-called “Hungarian ruby” from Michalová but data concerning other occurrences, including doubtful and false ones, are also discussed in detail.
Klaproth described the element titanium in 1795 from the “Hungarian red schorl”. He and many other contemporary authors assigned false localities to this mineral that was first reported as early as in 1772. Erroneous locality data have been inherited by consecutive generations of mineralogical handbooks since more than two centuries. Even the monograph Topografická mineralógia Slovenska failed to clarify the matter. This paper is devoted to definitely prove the status of Revúca (Revúca district, Slovakia) as the type locality of “Hungarian red schorl”, i.e. of rutile.
Gábor Papp
added a research item
The subject of this brief paper, dedicated to the memory of Professor Vilma Széky-Fux, was chosen considering the commitment of Professor Széky-Fux to both the research of the Tokaj Mts. and to the history of science. On the basis of contemporary printed sources, this paper reviews the history of three precious stones from the Tokaj Mts., labelled with separate trade names, well known by the late 18th early 19th century authors but now largely forgotten. The term “Tokay lux sapphire” refers to obsidian, which is found in several places in the Tokaj Mts.; “Tokay diamond” or “black garnet” corresponds to the marekanite-like obsidian variety occurring between Tokaj and Bodrogkeresztúr; the “plasma of Tokay” is a green moss agate (or jasper) from the surroundings of Tolcsva.