05/30/2017 15:36:37
Robert Perkins
At the Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences 90th Anniversary symposium, alumni from throughout the division's history shared their stories.
GPS 90th
04/28/2017 16:35:17
Robert Perkins
Witnesses to the history of GPS will return to campus to share experiences with the Caltech community at a daylong celebration of the division's 90th anniversary.
photo of two row boats on a Grand Canyon expedition in 1939
03/06/2017 17:21:34
Robert Perkins
New minerals found in the Khatyrka meteorite, famed for containing the only known naturally occurring quasicrystals.

Minerals Named After Caltechers

Created by: 
Frontpage Title: 
Minerals Named After Caltechers
image of the mineral Housleyite


Housleyite is a rare lead- and tellurium-rich mineral first found at Otto Mountain, near Baker, California. It was named in honor of Robert Housley, former visiting professor and current visitor in geochemistry at Caltech. Housley rediscovered abandoned mines in the area, and he is credited with the discovery of several new tellurite minerals.

image of the mineral Jahnsite

CaMnMg2Fe3+2(PO4)4(OH)2 · 8H2O

Jahnsite is actually a group of three related glassy, brittle minerals with long, prismatic crystals. It was named for Richard H. Jahns (BA '35, PhD '43), who was a professor at Caltech from 1946–60 and a pioneering engineering geologist.

image of the mineral Machiite


Machiite was discovered in the Murchison meteorite, where it was thought to have either condensed or crystallized about 4.6 billion years ago, before the planets formed. It was named after Chi Ma, former postdoc and current director of Caltech's analytical facility in the geological and planetary sciences division. Ma himself has discovered more than 30 new minerals.

image of the mineral Wyllieite


Wyllieite is a dark, translucent, and prismatic crystal that was discovered at the Old Mike Mine in Custer County, South Dakota. The complex mineral is named for Peter Wyllie, professor of geology, emeritus, at Caltech. Wyllie is a former president of the International Mineralogical Association and the Mineralogical Society of America and has received the Roebling Medal, the highest honor of the Mineralogical Society of America.

image of the mineral Rosemaryite


Discovered in Custer County, South Dakota, rosemaryite is a member of the wyllieite group, with a prismatic and monoclinic structure (that is, it is arranged around three unequal axes of which one is at right angles to the other two). It is named in honor of Frances Rosemary "Romy" Wyllie, the managing editor of the Journal of Geology and cofounder and chair of the Caltech Architectural Tour Service, which she helped establish in 1985. The mineral wyllieite is named for her husband, Peter Wyllie.

image of the mineral Rossmanite

(LiAl2) Al6 (BO3)3 Si6O18 (OH)4

Rossmanite was discovered near Rožná, Czech Republic, and is a member of the tourmaline group, a group of hard, crystalline boron silicate minerals identified by Dutch lapidaries in the early 1700s. Tourmalines are semi-precious stones, which can be found in a variety of colors. Rossmanite is named for George Rossman (PhD '71), professor of mineralogy at Caltech, in recognition of his work on the spectroscopy of the tourmaline-group minerals.

image of the mineral Paulingite


Paulingite is a rare, microporous mineral first found in basaltic rocks from the Columbia River in Washington. It is named for the late Linus Pauling (PhD '25), professor of chemistry at Caltech and the only person ever to be awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes.


Dozens of minerals have been named after Caltech faculty, staff, alumni, and other individuals associated with the Institute over the years.

Adapted from the presentation "Minerals Named After Persons Associated With Caltech" by George Rossman, professor of mineralogy. Includes information from mindat.org, an online mineral reference.

Exclude from Caltech Today: 
11/10/2016 11:36:28
Robert Perkins
Caltech provost Edward Stolper will be honored with the highest award of the Mineralogical Society of America, recognizing his outstanding original research.
Edward Stolper
10/24/2016 10:47:13
Lori Dajose
A conversation with Alice Michel (BS '16), who spearheaded the effort to give geobiology a home on Wikipedia.
09/21/2016 22:29:39
Lori Dajose
The "no strings attached" fellowships award $625,000 over five years.
08/24/2016 12:05:16
Robert Perkins
Engineers use individual grains as force gauges to calculate how stress moves through sand, granular rocks, and soils.
06/30/2016 11:04:39
Unusual wind-sculpted sand ripples have been discovered on Mars.
06/16/2016 08:18:28
Kathy Svitil
Gerald Wasserburg, John D. MacArthur Professor of Geology and Geophysics, Emeritus, passed away on June 13, 2016. He was 89 years old.