An evolutionary system of mineralogy: Proposal for a classification of planetary materials based on natural kind clustering

1Robert M. Hazen
American Mineralogist 104, 810-816 Link to Article [http://www.minsocam.org/MSA/AmMin/TOC/2019/open_access/AM104P0810.pdf]
1Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, 5251 Broad Branch Road NW, Washington, D.C. 20015, U.S.A. Orcid: 0000-0003-4163-8644
Copyright: The Mineralogical Society of America

Minerals reveal the nature of the co-evolving geosphere and biosphere through billions of years of Earth history. Mineral classification systems have the potential to elucidate this rich evolutionary story; however, the present mineral taxonomy, based as it is on idealized major element chemistry and crystal structure, lacks a temporal aspect, and thus cannot reflect planetary evolution. A complementary evolutionary system of mineralogy based on the quantitative recognition of “natural kind clustering” for a wide range of condensed planetary materials with different paragenetic origins has the potential to amplify, though not supersede, the present classification system.

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