GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 137-9
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM


GUNTER, Mickey E., Geological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844

I compose this abstract on my return from MSA's Centennial Symposium in Washington, DC. The success of that event is to me a metaphor as to the success of MSA in the many contributions made by our members, organizers, and staff. Alex Speer, MSA's executive director, deserves a special thanks and recognition especially now as he retires at the end of this year after 25 years of exceptional service and leadership to MSA. Thanks Alex!

Typically, an MSA presidential address would focus on one’s areas of interest, which for many of us could be hard as we have so many! But for me as the 100th president, it is easy to select the subject matter of this presentation - the 100 years of MSA that have past and the 100 years in the future. To aid me in this, I planned my six presidential letters in Elements to address what I think we all should be pondering at this time: 1) our first 100 years, 2) professional service, 3) teaching, 4) research, 5) interactions with industry, and 6) the next 100 years.

Of course, I will also talk about two of my research areas, optical mineralogy and mineral dusts, pointing out the need for the use of PLM (polarized light microscope) which has many more applications than the PLM (petrographic light microscope) both within geology as well as other areas of physical sciences. Along those same lines I will show one of what sadly is many examples of common mistakes made in mineral identification. These occur because of the lack of analytical skills often found with those who identify minerals; skills we would expect students in undergrad mineralogy courses to possess to pass the class. Briefly it deals with the assertion put forth in a legal matter that it was hard, if not impossible, to distinguish amphiboles from pyroxenes in soils.

Finally, I will propose a solution to the issues I have witnessed over the past 10-20 years in dealing with basic mineral identification by non-mineralogists. This proposal would also return mineralogy its rightful place in our geology curriculum as an end in itself and not a means to an end.