A married couple from Russia, Irina and Yevgeny Galushkin, named the new type of pomegranate in honor of Priscilla Gru. Previously, the family of scientists named the other two other minerals, edgrewite and hydroxyldgruite, after Priscilla’s husband in 2011. The couple first met in 2010 in Budapest, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The Gru family received a letter from their Russian friends, which included the following lines: “We have found a new pomegranate and would like to call it ‘warming up. We hope Priscilla will agree! ”
“I was just overwhelmed,” said Priscilla Grue, professor emeritus of earth and atmospheric sciences and director emeritus of the University of Nebraska State Museum. “There are only about 5,600 (known) minerals, and only about a hundred are named after women.”
Although the Galushkins refer to their American friend by the Russian nickname “Pris”, the International Mineralogical Association has chosen her full name for the newly discovered mineral: priscillagrevite-(Y). The mineral is a member of the so-called supergroup of garnets. What sets it apart from all but one of its fellow garnets is that it contains the element yttrium, which is why the name of the mineral contains the letter “Y”.
The Galushkin family honored Gru with their discovery, in part as a tribute to one of her own discoveries, which she made in 1966 while doing her doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. Gru analyzed the California garnet using a state-of-the-art instrument, an electron microprobe, which directs a beam of electrons onto a sample and records the resulting X-rays. rays to identify elements in it.
“We got this little Polaroid-like image,” Gru said of the black and white image. “And there was this geometric pattern of light and dark areas.”
This angular pattern resembled the concentric rings of a tree trunk, she said, with lighter areas representing higher levels of the element manganese. This phenomenon, which geologists call oscillating zoning, showed that the amount of nearby manganese fluctuated – at first it was high, then low, then high again, and so on – as the garnet grew and crystallized over time.
Gru realized that she was the first to notice these manganese zones in the garnet. It was a great geological achievement in his career. But even before that moment, her colleagues at Berkeley began to call Priscilla “the pomegranate lady.”
The Galushkins named two other minerals, edgrewite and hydroxyledgruite, after Priscilla’s husband in 2011. Official samples of minerals are kept in the Fersman Mineralogical Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, where a sample of priscillagrevite-(Y) will soon join them.