John Rakovan

State Mineralogist for New Mexico and Senior Mineral Museum Curator, New Mexico Bureau of Geology - New Mexico Tech 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801

Adjunct faculty Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science
Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056-2473

B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988
M.S., University of Illinois at Chicago, 1990
Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1996
Postdoctoral research faculty Virginia Polytechnic Institute 1996-1997
Faculty member at Miami University 1998-2022

State Mineralogist for New Mexico 9/1/2022-present

Research Interests: Environmental Mineralogy, Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry

My research interests involve the integration of low temperature geochemistry and mineralogy in the study of crystal surfaces and water-rock interactions found in natural systems. In particular, I am interested in environmentally significant processes such as crystal growth, metal sorption, trace element partitioning and other surface mediated reactions. My research also addresses the structural response of minerals to substituent elements, especially lanthanides and actinides in apatite group minerals.

Current research projects include: Use of phosphate minerals for environmental remediation; the role of crystal surface structure on trace element incorporation during growth; crystal chemistry of the lanthanides and actinides in apatite; crystal growth and trace element incorporation in fluorite and apatite; understanding fundamental interactions between aqueous metal species and soil minerals; mineral replacement reactions.

Chemically zoned fluorapatite from the Panasqueira tungsten deposit Portugal (Joaquim Callén photo ). HRTEM photomicrograph of the apatite structure (Mark Krekeler image).


Research in the News: Wire Silver and Gold: National Geographic; Los Alamos National Laboratory Press Release; Geology paper


Partial Vitae

Selected Publications

2016 Dallas Mineral Symposium talk on crystal growth




Miami Facilities



Apatite Mineral monographs V.17


Apatite Nomenclature - IMA Summary Full Report


Apatite: A mineral for all seasons Elements Magazine V.11 #3


Apatite: World Review Comprehensive reviews of specimen and gem producing localities Rocks & Minerals May/June 2015


Rocks & Minerals



Eponym of the mineral rakovanite.

Recipient of the Carnegie Mineralogical Award 2019