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Collector's Guide to the Amphibole Group

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Collector's Guide to the Amphibole Group
By Robert J. Lauf
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (2015)
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4870-9

Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - August 14, 2015

The Amphibole group consists of double chain silicate minerals that form needlelike crystals, and they include minerals such as anthophyllite, Edenite, Grunerite, Hornblende, Obertiite, Pedrizite, Suenoite, Winchite, and many more. In all, more than 30 species of the Amphibole group, along with their subgroups are detailed in Robert J. Lauf's new book, the Collector's Guide to the Amphibole Group, along with many of the subspecies of these root minerals.

In this edifying book, Lauf not only provides an overview of the taxonomy, formation, and uses of the various members of the Amphibole Group, but he also provides an encyclopedic-like entry on each of the minerals covered in the book. In addition, this book includes more than 135 breath taking color images of various amphibole crystals.

Geared toward collectors, the Collector's Guide to the Amphibole Group provides a detailed look at the amphibole group without requiring its readers to have a Ph.D. in mineralogy. The book's introduction offers an insightful overview of the group, and its importance (both to collectors and in industrial and gem making settings), and complexity. This is followed by a chapter on the taxonomy of the amphibole group. This is the most technical and difficult part of the book because it goes into the chemical make-up and crystalline structure of the minerals, and it examines the complex and often fluid nature of the amphibole taxonomy wherein some names have become obsolete, new names and subgroups added, and other information related to how the minerals in this group are named. The varied colors found in the amphibole group are also touched upon. The next chapter, "Formation and Geochemistry" deals with how the amphibole minerals are formed in igneous, metamorphic, and extraterrestrial rocks. Armed with this solid background, you are now well situated to move on to the main body of the book - the encyclopedic entries on the minerals detailed in the Collector's Guide to the Amphibole Group...

The entries on each mineral follow the same basic format, with information on how each mineral was discovered, its history, and its key and / or unique features. Each entry is based upon the root name of the mineral, for example, Holmquistite. Within this entry on Holmquistite you'll also find related species covered, such as Ferro-homquistite and Clino-ferri-holmquistite. Each entry is also enhanced with additional information, ranging from the meaning of a given name to the location where the mineral is commonly found.

This combination of information gives collectors, and anyone with an interest in any aspect of the amphibole group, a concise introduction to this complex group and its importance in geological terms. Rock geeks, both professional and amateur, will also find the illustrations in this book to be eye-popping, and the information helpful in identifying and learning to better appreciate the members of the amphibole group!

Related Reviews:

Collector's Guide to the Zeolite Group, by Robert J. Lauf.
Filled with more than 200 stunning color photographs, this book provides a survey of 62 zeolite mineral series. It also provides information on what zeolites are, how they are formed, and where they can be found.

Introduction to Radioactive Minerals, by Robert Lauf.
Focusing on uranium and thorium, this book provides an excellent introduction to radioactive minerals, including how they are formed, mined, and used. It also provides advice on how and where you can collect them.

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