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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Department of Mineral Sciences

Izalco Volcano
  • Michael A. Wise
  • Geologist, Division of Mineralogy
  • Phone:   (202) 633-1826
  • Fax:   (202) 357-2476
  • E-mail Address:   wisem atsiedu
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 119
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0119


Ph.D. University of Manitoba (1987)

Research Interests

The global exploitation of granitic pegmatites (exceptionally coarse to gigantic-grained igneous rocks) as major sources of industrial, technological and gemological materials, require that we have a strong understanding of the processes that generate them. Pegmatites are important sources of rare-elements, and when present in economic quantities, these elements may be extracted for use in a wide range of technological applications, such as lightweight alloys, nuclear engineering and electronics (beryllium); ceramics, pharmaceutical products, lubricants, and lithium-batteries (lithium); electronic capacitors, jet engines and prosthetic devices (tantalum); magneto hydrodynamic electric generators, biological and medical research (cesium); and integrated circuits and light-emitting laser diodes (gallium). The industrial minerals, feldspar and quartz, are extracted from pegmatite deposits for use by the glass and ceramic industries, while mica is used in construction materials, cosmetics, paints and insulation. Some of the world's best-known gem materials (e.g., aquamarine, emerald, sapphire, topaz, and tourmaline) are obtained from pegmatite deposits. Pegmatite research in the Department of Mineral Sciences focuses on three broad, but closely linked disciplines, which are the basic research components necessary for a full understanding of the pegmatite-generating process.

1) Crystal chemistry and crystal structures of pegmatite minerals

Basic mineralogical studies carried out on major and accessory pegmatite minerals include: the solution and refinement of crystal structures, investigation of structural states (e.g. order-disorder) in minerals, and the effects of "pegmatophile" elements (e.g. Rb, Cs, Li, B) on mineral structures.

2) Petrology and geochemistry of pegmatites

Petrographic study of pegmatite textures is fundamental to understanding the nucleation and growth of giant crystals. Multi-generations of tourmalines, feldspars, micas, garnets, and Nb-Ta oxide minerals are typical of many chemically evolved pegmatites and the minor and trace element signatures of these minerals help to decipher changes in melt and fluid composition during pegmatite consolidation.

3) Evolution of granite-pegmatite systems

Field-based studies of the internal zoning of individual pegmatites, the regional zonation of granite-pegmatite systems and the global relationship between pegmatites and broad geologic and tectonic settings helps provide a better understanding of the processes responsible for pegmatite generation and can provide important information on the chemical evolution of the earth's crust.


Wise, M.A. & Johnson, S.S. (1980) Simple Bouger gravity anomaly map of the Culpeper Basin and vicinity, Virginia. Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publ. 24.

Wise, M.A. (1981) Blue quartz in Virginia. Virginia Minerals 27, 9-13.

Meintzer, R.E., Wise, M.A. & Cerný, P. (1984) Distribution and structural setting of fertile granites and related pegmatites in the Yellowknife pegmatite field, District of MacKenzie, in Current Research, Part A., Geol. Surv. Can. Paper 84-1A, 373-381.

Meintzer, R.E. & Wise, M.A. (1987) Granitoids and pegmatites of the Yellowknife area, N.W.T., in Field Guide, Yellowknife '87, Summer Field Meeting, Geol. Assoc. Can., 123-134.

Cerný, P., Wise, M.A. & Tomascak, P. (1988) Report on reconnaissance work in the M1, M2 and QULIK 1 Claims, Chantrey Inlet, NWT, parts of NTS 56 M/6, EGS 1988-15, 39 p.

Cerný, P., Tomascak, P. & Wise, M.A. (1988) Pegmatite studies in the Aylmer Lake Area- a preliminary report, parts of NTS 75 M, 76 C, D; Canada - NWT Mineral Development Agreement, EGS 1988-14, 11 p.

Cerný, P., Wise, M.A. & Tomascak, P. (1989) Reconnaissance of M1, M2 and QULIK 1 Claims, Chantrey Inlet, NWT, part of NTS 56 M/6; Canada - NWT Mineral Development Agreement, EGS 1989-3, 16 p.

Cerný, P., Tomascak, P. & Wise, M.A. (1989) Pegmatite studies in the Aylmer Lake Area, NorthwestTerritories, part of NTS 75 M, 76 C, D; Canada - NWT Mineral Development Agreement, EGS 1989-2, 14 p.

Francis, C.A., Wise, M.A., Kampf, A.R., Brown, C.D. & Whitmore, R.W. (1993) Granitic pegmatites in northern New England. Field Trip Guidebook or the Northeastern United States: 1993 Boston GSA, E1- E24.

Wise, M.A. (1995) Petrology of the Sebago batholith and related pegmatites in New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference, A.M. Hussey & R.A. Johnston (eds.), 229-242.

Wise, M.A. & Cerný, P. (1982) First U.S. occurrence of wodginite from Powhatan County, Virginia. Amer. Mineral.,69, 807-809.

Wise, M.A. Meintzer, R.E. & Cerný, P. (1985) The Yellowknife pegmatite field: mineralogy and geochemistry of Nb-Ta-Sn oxide minerals, in Contributions to the Geology of the Northwest Territories, v. 2., Canada Dept. of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, EGS 1985-6, 15-25.

Wise, M.A., Turnock, A.C. & Cerný, P. (1985) Improved unit cell dimensions for ordered columbite-tantalite end-members. Neues. Jb. Miner. Mh., H8, 372-378.

Wise, M.A., Meintzer, R.E. & Cerný, P. (1988) Phosphate mineralogy of the Yellowknife pegmatite field. in Contributions to the Geology of the Northwest Territories, v. 3., NWT Geology Division, Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Yellowknife. 123-129.

Cerný, P., Chapman, R., Göd, R., Niedermayr, G. & Wise, M.A. (1989) Exsolution intergrowths of titanian ferrocolumbite and niobian rutile from the Weinebene spodumene pegmatites, Carinthia. Mineral. Petrol., 40, 187-206.

Wise, M.A., Hawthorne, F.C. & Cerný, P. (1990) Crystal structure of a Ca-rich beusite from the Yellowknife pegmatite field, Northwest Territories. Can. Mineral., 28, 141-146.

Wise, M.A. & Cerný, P. (1990) Beusite-triphylite intergrowths from the Yellowknife pegmatite field, Northwest Territories. Can. Mineral., 28, 133-139.

Wise, M.A. & Cerný, P. (1990) Primary compositional range and alteration trends of microlite from the Yellowknife pegmatite field, Northwest Territories, Canada. Mineral. Petrol., 43, 83-98.

Cerný, P., Ercit, T.S. & Wise, M.A. (1992) The tantalite-tapiolite gap: natural assemblages vs. experimental data. Can. Mineral., 30, 587-596.

Wise, M.A. & Francis, C.A. (1992) Distribution, classification and geological setting of granitic pegmatites in Maine. Northeastern Geol., 14, 82-93.

Tomascak, P.B., Wise, M.A., Cerný, P. & Trueman, D.L. (1994) Reconnaissance studies of four pegmatite populations in the Northwest Territories. Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin 475, 31-61.

Wise, M.A., Rose, T.R. & Holden, R.E. ( 1994) Mineralogy of the Bennett Quarry, Oxford County, Maine. Mineralogical Record, 25, 175-184.

Wise, M.A. (1995) Topaz - a mineralogical review. Rocks and Minerals, 70, 16-25.

Ercit, T.S., Wise, M.A. & Cerny, P. (1995) Compositional and structural systematics of the columbite group. Amer. Mineral. 80, 613-619.

Wise, M.A. (1995) Trace element chemistry of lithium-rich micas from rare-element granitic pegmatites. Mineral. Petrol. 55, 203-215.

Wise, M.A. & Cerný, P. (1996) The crystal chemistry of the tapiolite series. Canadian Mineralogist, 34, 631-647.

Wise, M.A. & Rose, T.R. (1997) The Bennett pegmatite, Oxford County, Maine. in: The Mineralogy of Maine. Maine Geological Survey. (in press)

Rose, T. R., Wise, M.A. & Brown, C.D. (1997) Renewed mining at the western quarries of Mount Apatite, Maine. Rocks & Minerals, 72, 44-48.

Wise, M.A. & Brown, C.D. (1997) Geochemistry of coexisting columbite-tantalite and cassiterite from the Black Mountain pegmatite, Maine. Accepted for Mineralogy and Petrology.

Post, J.E., Wise, M.A., Feather, R.C. & Pohwat, P.W. (1998) The Smithsonian Institution's new hall of geology, gems and minerals. Rocks and Minerals, 73, 44-51.

Wise, M.A., Cerny, P. & Falster, A.U. (1998) Scandium substitution in columbite group minerals and ixiolite. Canadian Mineralogist 36, 673-680.

Smeds, S-A., Uher, P., Cerny, P., Wise, M.A., Gustafsson, L. & Penner, P. (1998) Graftonite-beusite in Sweden: primary phases, products of exsolution, and distribution in zoned populations of granitic pegmatites. Canadian Mineralogist 36, 377-394.

Cerny, P., Ercit, T.S., Wise, M.A., Chapman, R. & Buck, H.M. (1998) Compositional, structural and phase relationships in titanian ixiolite and titanian columbite-tantalite. Canadian Mineralogist 36, 547-561.

Dyar, D.M., Guidotti, C.V., Core, D.P., Wearn, K.M., Wise, M.A., Francis, C.A., Johnson, K.,m Brady, J.B., Roberstson, J.D. and Cross, L.R. (1999) Stable isotope and crystal chemistry of tourmaline across pegmatite - country rock boundaries at Black Mountain and Mount Mica, southwestern Maine, U.S.A. European J. Mineralogy, 11, 281-294.

Wise, M.A. (1999) Characterization and classification of NYF-type pegmatites. Canadian Mineralogist, 37, 802-803.

Wise, M.A. & Rose, T.R. (2000) The Bennett pegmatite, Oxford Maine in: Mineralogy of Maine, p. 323-332.

Groat, L.A., Marshall, D.D., Giuliani, G., Ercit, T.S., Gault, R.A., Wise, M.A., Wengzynowski, W. & Eaton, W.D.,(2001) Canadian emeralds: the Crown showing, southeastern Yukon. The Canadian Gemmologist, 22, 92-95.

Brown, C.D., & Wise, M.A. (2001) Internal zonation and chemical evolution of the Black Mountain pegmatite, Maine. Canadian Mineralogist, 39, 45-55.

Francis, C.A., & Wise, M.A. (2001) Rare-element granitic pegmatites of northern New England. Guidebook for Geological Field Trips in New England. GSA Annual Meeting, Boston. 10 pgs.

Wise, M.A. & Francis, C.A. (2001) N-Y-F pegmatites in the Avalon terrane of southeastern New England. Guidebook for Geological Field Trips in New England. GSA Annual Meeting, Boston. 10 pgs.

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