- Economic Geology
Phosphates: Geochemical, Geobiological, and Materials Importance: Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, Volume 48. Matthew J. Kohn, John Rakovan, and John Hughes, eds. 742 Pp. Mineralogical Society of America, 1015 Eighteenth St., NW, Ste. 601, Washington, DC 20036-5274. <www.minsocam.org>. 2002. Price $40.00; MSA, GS, and CMS members $30.00.
Before reviewing this book I must first mention a few caveats. First, my expertise extends to only a small part of this nearly 750-page book and in fact, the subject matter is so vast that this would likely be true for most reviewers. Second, I own 15 volumes of this 50-volume series and have always found these books to be excellent reference works with one of the highest benefit/cost ratios available; this volume on phosphates is no different. Third, a project that I headed on the Phosphoria Formation partly funded the work discussed in chapter 9 by Knudsen and Gunter on sedimentary phosphorites, so I will try to be especially diligent in my review of that chapter.
This book consists of 19 chapters that include five chapters on mineralogy, crystallography, and crystal chemistry (1–5); a chapter each on igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary phosphorites and one on the global geochemical cycle (6, 7, 9, 10); four on analytical techniques and developments (8, 14, 15, 19); four on phosphate fossils, biological, and medical aspects (11-13, 17); and one on nuclear waste issues (18). The dominant minerals discussed throughout the book are monazite, xenotime, and especially various types of apatite, although a brief outline of the crystal chemistry of most phosphate minerals (about 245 presented) is given as part of chapter 5, which at 130 pages is about 18 percent of the book. This concentration on three minerals or mineral groups is reasonable because …