Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Minerolog* (for Mineralog*)

Mineralogy, the study of minerals, is an easy term to misspell. One might hear the ending as “ology” and automatically type it with an o; remembering the word in two parts as “mineral-ogy” rather than “miner-ology” might help. Minerolog* scores a high probability on the Ballard list and occurs over 500 times in Worldcat!

In other superlatives, quartz is one of the most abundant minerals in the Earth’s crust. The amethyst (February’s birthstone) contains more iron oxide (Fe2O3) than any other quartz, and the beautiful purple colour seen in the photo is believed to come from this high iron content.

The name amethyst originated in the Greek word amethystos, meaning “not intoxicated”; the Greeks believed the stone protected its wearer from drunkenness. Perhaps a cataloguer who finds his or her fingers slipping into typos one too many times might try keeping a little amethyst at the desk?

Leanne Olson

(Amethyst photo from The Smithsonian's Department of Mineral Sciences)

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