MinIdent – A Data Base for Minerals and a Computer Program for Their Identification

Smith, D. G. W., & Leibovitz, D. P. (1986) MinIdent – A Data Base for Minerals and a Computer Program for Their Identification. Program with Abstracts GAC, MAC, CGU-AGC, AMC, UCG: Joint Annual Meeting, May 19-21, 1986, Carleton University, Ottawa. Abstracts 11: 129. [doi10.13140/RG.2.1.1667.5048] (pdf)

MinIdent-PCAbstract: MinIdent is an interactive mineral identification and mineral data base management program, now rewritten in FORTRAN 77. Data have been stored for about 4000 mineral groups, species and varieties. These data include composition, optical properties in transmitted and reflected light, symmetry, unit cell dimensions, densities, Vickers and Mohs hardness, d-values and relative intensities of the 5 strongest X-ray powder-diffraction lines, JCPDS numbers, any polymorphs, occurrences, localities, year first described and sources of the data. However, not all minerals yet have data stored for all these fields.

The program can be used to generate a list of minerals having properties within within the ranges input for an unidentified mineral or can be made to display and rank the twenty most likely identities for an unknown. The program can also be used to tabulate chosen properties of matched minerals, or to tabulate minerals in the data base that have certain specified properties. Alternatively, all analytical and other data stored for a particular mineral can be displayed.

Tests using data for known minerals to simulate unknowns indicate a high degree of reliability given accurate input information, and a surprising success rate even when input data are qualitative in character.

The MinIdent identification and data base management software uses about 400 kbytes of memory and the data base used in mineral identification currently uses less than 4 Mbytes. Running times for typical identification procedures range between about 0.5 and 3.0 seconds of CPU time on the AMDAHL 580/FF mainframe computer on which the program has been developed. The cycle time of this computer is about 23 ns. MinIdent can be accessed globally via data communications networks such as DATAPAC, TELENET and TYMNET.

Application of the MinIdent data base and software are envisaged wherever earth scientists are faced with the task of mineral identification. Such areas of specialization include petrology (igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary), economic geology (ore mineralogy, mineral exploration and mineral beneficiation), geochemistry, meteorites and crystallography.


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