William Simmons


Professor Simmons received his PhD from The University of Michigan. He taught mineralogy and petrology for 42 years in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans in Louisiana and was the Director of the Mineralogy, Petrology and Pegmatology (MP2) Research Group. In 2000, he was awarded the honorary title University Research Professor. He recently retired from teaching and was appointed Professor Emeritus. He now holds the position of Research Director at the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum (MMGM).
He is a specialist in analytical mineralogy and is the director of the MP2 analytical facility recently relocated from UNO to the MMGM. His principal specialty is the study of the mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry of pegmatites.

Dr. Simmons is the organizer and Director of the Maine Pegmatite Workshop, which is a week-long short course on pegmatites held annually. He is author or coauthor of the description of 23 new minerals and five discreditations. His publications include over 400 articles including six books, fifteen book chapters and two patents. The new mineral Simmonsite was named in his honor in recognition of his work on granitic pegmatites and their mineralogy.

Why are you so excited about participating in IMA2018?

IMA 2018 in Melbourne will be the perfect venue to meet pegmatite researchers and aficionados from around the world to catch up on the newest developments and trends in pegmatite related research. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Session: Pegmatite mineralogy, geochemistry, classification and origins

Pegmatites have fascinated petrologist and mineralogists for over a century: these granitic igneous rocks with large, even gigantic crystals, a huge range of grain sizes, concentrations of rare elements and fluxing components and a diverse array of exotic minerals are intriguing to a broad range of pegmatologists and geoscientists. As the source of: quartz, feldspars, and mica for industrial uses; rare metals for energy, space exploration and high-tech electrical industries; gemstock for the colored gemstone industry and many of the world’s finest minerals specimens, rare-element pegmatites are important economic mineral deposits. Even more intriguing is the textural and thermal modelling evidence that demonstrates that most pegmatites crystallize extremely rapidly, in days to several hundred years instead of millions of years.

Understanding the sources of the melts that produce pegmatites, their enrichment in rare elements and exotic minerals, the role of fluxes in extreme internal fractionation and the formation of miaroles, the development of their complex textures, crystallization dynamics and hydrothermal alteration are all topics of current research, as is the development of an improved classification scheme. Papers related to these topics or any aspect of the mineralogy, petrology and geochemistry of pegmatites are solicited.