September 4, 2008

Guidebook to the Pegmatites of Western Australia

By Cook, Robert B

Guidebook to the Pegmatites of Western Australia by Mark I. Jacobson, Mark. A. Calderwood, and Benjamin A. Grguric. Hesperian Press, PO Box 317, Victoria Park, WA, Australia 6979 (http:// www.hesperianpress. com). 356 pages; 2007; $85 plus shipping (hardcover). This useful and informative book is a comprehensive treatment of the history, geology, and mineralogy of economically or scientifically significant pegmatites in Western Australia, authored by three experts in the field. Much of the area covered is difficult to access, and for most readers, this book will represent the best and perhaps only point of contact with these interesting deposits.

The book contains a 37-page introduction that includes nine sections. The first is a brief history of pegmatite studies and mining in Western Australia that is followed by sections on pegmatite internal structures, classification, and ages. Next is a good description of pegmatite origins and zoning, plus a discussion of mineralogy that includes a list of approximately 120 pegmatite minerals and their noteworthy Western Australia localities. The final sections of the introduction give details on geodetic and related location data used within the text, general access information, and a discussion of the organization of the descriptive locality chapters.

The meat of the book is contained in the following ten chapters. Each contains individual pegmatite, mine, or district descriptions within a specific, geologically distinct province. Included are those of the Halls Creek, King Leopold, and Albany-Fraser orogens; the Pilbara Craton; the Gascoyne and Northhampton complexes; and the Murchison, South West Gneiss, Southern Cross, and Eastern Goldfields Terranes of the Yilgarn Craton. A total of sixty-one individual localities are described for the Murchison Terrane, whereas only five are described for the Southern Cross Terrane and Halls Creek Orogen. Localities described range from single prospects on an individual pegmatite to entire pegmatite fields or districts. For the larger or more complex settings, the descriptive sections are divided into subsections that include location, directions, history, geology, and mineralogy. Location information often includes GPS- derived UTM coordinates or similar coordinate data obtained from the best available geologic or topographic maps. Historical data are unusually complete for many localities, and geology sections are generally at a professional level. Mineralogical descriptions are pointed toward the advanced amateur or professional. Many descriptions are illustrated with locality photographs and sketch maps; some contain informative specimen photographs of representative specimens, many of which were found by the authors.

A number of well-known specimen and gem localities are described. These include the world-class ferrocolumbite crystal occurrence at the Giles pegmatite, Spargoville, Eastern Goldfields Terrane; gem rubellite from the Forrestania pegmatite in the Southern Cross Terrane; tantalite and related minerals of the Wodgina district, Pilbara Craton; the Londonderry pegmatite near Coolgardie, known for its gem petalite, colorful lepidolite, and sharp ixiolite and manganocolumbite crystals; and the Tabba Tabba Main pegmatite, Pilbara Craton, the type locality for simpsonite.

The book has a 22-page comprehensive bibliography containing about four hundred references; it represents a pleasantly thorough compilation of the available literature and many unpublished reports. The final pages are devoted to a name (personal) index, locality index, and mineral index.

This guidebook is a valuable contribution to the literature on pegmatites. It is a particularly important reference to those wishing to visit specific localities in Western Australia and should serve as a guide to those writing any similar work. I will certainly use it as an important reference source for general information on economic pegmatites and their mineralogy. I recommend it highly for those maintaining a good personal mineralogy library.

Robert B. Cook

Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

Copyright Heldref Publications Sep/Oct 2008

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