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Over the past decade, I have had the priviledge to review most of the volumes published to date of the second edition of DHZ. For each, I had taken note of the extensive growth of data from the earlier first edition. Now, however, I was stupefied and truly unprepared for the colossal expansion to be found in what is but the first half of the second edition of the non-silicates, subtitled “Volume 5A: Oxides, hydroxides, and sulphides”. The relatively slender second half, vol. 5B, was reviewed in this journal 15 years ago (Canadian Mineralogist, v. 36, p. 236). What now came to land in my mail box was a veritable “brique” of 920 pages, weighing in at an impressive 1.72 kg and about twice as thick as its venerable first-edition predecessor, which included all the common rock-forming non-silicates in a thrifty 371 pages.

Unlike the silicate minerals dealt with in the first four volumes of DHZ, most of the non-silicates are opaque and not amenable to normal thin-section study (p. xi). It is, in summary, the vast array of new geochemical and geophysical analytical techniques which account for the explosive growth of data, particularly for these minerals.

On its cover, volume 5A is headed “Deer, Howie and Zussman”, although Prof. Deer passed away in 2010. Two newcomers to the DHZ stable, J.F.W. Bowles and D.J. Vaughan, distinguished mineralogists and Fellows of the Geological Society, have picked up Prof. Deer’s reins and respectively piloted the sections on the oxides and the sulfides. The surviving horsemen, Profs. Howie and Zussman, are responsible for the section on the hydroxides. (A note from your reviewer: Age alone is no measure of activity; Prof. Deer left us at the age of 93, Prof. Howie is 87, and Prof. Zussman is only a year younger!)

The organization of volume 5A follows that of the first edition, although in far more detail and with selected appendages. Lengthy introductions to the Fe–Ti oxides (34 pages with 176 references) and the spinel group (also 34 pages with 132 references) have been intercalated appropriately. Each should be required reading for serious advanced undergraduate and all graduate students in mineralogy. They are fine summaries of current research on these selected oxides. The plentiful references offer keys for further yet more detailed study. A short introduction to the sulfides (three pages with 22 references) emphasizes their role as rock-forming minerals and their importance in environmental studies.

Four pages of abbreviations and symbols employed in the text open volume 5A. These are followed by prefaces to the first edition and that for the present volume 5A. No less than 50 years have intervened between the writing of these introductory words. The prefaces are succeeded by the core text, in which some 41 minerals are treated individually on 821 pages in chapters that range in length from two pages (feroxyhyte) to 81 pages (pyrite, with 438 references!). In general, minerals covered follow those of the first edition. A few new names appear, whereas the venerable “limonite” has been banished following recent decisions of the IMA. The five sulfides of the first edition (pyrite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and galena) have been retained, but expanded from 57 to 262 pages. The extraordinary timeliness of the text is reflected by the numerous references to articles published in the current century, and in two “Notes added in proof” (p. 402 and 616), with references to publications from the current year, 2011.

Errors apparently are rare (your reviewer did not read the 920 pages word-for-word). Here are a few that I caught, mostly minor indeed. Tistarite is Ti2O3, not Ti3O5 (p. 200). The sum of several analytical datasets in Tables 13 and 14 don’t agree with the totals given. “Heavier” is used incorrectly for denser (p. 249). The decimal justification in Table 81 is confused. Most disconcerting, however, is the quality of the figures. Many of the diagrams are crude, with inappropriate and poorly positioned lettering compared to diagrams in the first edition. What CAD offers in speed and cost-effectiveness unfortunately is offset by inferior readability and reduced elegance.

This heroic and encyclopaedic volume exceeds the needs of most petrographers. On the other hand, it is an indispensable source of information on the most up-to-date “black-box” analyses of the non-silicate rock-forming minerals, and will constitute an important reference for post-graduate students and their professors, as well as for professional and experienced petrographers beyond the walls of academia. In closing, let me urge my readers not to discard vol. 5 of DHZ, no matter how tattered its pages may have become through years of use. Relatively speaking, volume 5A is less user-friendly than is its predecessor, which in turn is adequate for most routine terrestrial petrographic study. Volume 5A should therefore be viewed not so much as a replacement, but rather as a supplement to the earlier volume 5.