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Mickey Gunter

Mickey Gunter

University Distinguished Professor Emeritus


McClure 309



Mailing Address

Department of Geological Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3022
Moscow, ID 83844-3022

  • Ph.D., Optical Mineralogy, 1987—Virginia Tech
  • M.S., Optical Mineralogy, 1982—Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • B.S., Geology, 1979—Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

  • Health effects of mineral dusts
  • Optical mineralogy
  • Zeolites

  • Bandli, B.R. and Gunter, M.E. 2012. Electron backscatter diffraction from unpolished particulate specimens: Examples of particle identification and application to inhalable mineral particulate identification. American Mineralogist, 1269-1273.
  • Li, M., Gunter, M.E., and Fukagawa, N.K. 2012. Differential activation of the inflammasome in THP-1 cells exposed to Libby "six mix" amphiboles and subsequent activation of BEAS-2B cells. Cytokine (
  • Gunter, M.E., Dyar, M.D., Lanzirotti, A., Tucker, J.M., and Speicher, E.A. 2011. Differences in Fe-Redox for asbestiform and nonasbestiform amphiboles from the former vermiculite mine, near Libby, Montana USA. American Mineralogist, 1414-1417.
  • Taunton, A.E., Gunter, M.E., Nolan, R.P., and Phillips, J.I. 2011. Characterization of minerals in pleural plaques from lung tissue of non-human primates. Periodico di Mineralogia, 80, 167-179.
  • Taunton, A.E., Druschel, G.K., Gunter, M.E., and Wood, S.A. 2010. Geochemistry in the lung: Reaction-path modeling and experimental examinations of rock-forming minerals under physiologic conditions. American Mineralogist.
  • Gunter, M.E. 2009. Asbestos sans mineralogy. Elements, 141.
  • Gunter, M.E. and Sanchez, M.S. 2009. Amphibole forensics: Using the composition of amphiboles to determine their source, the Libby, Montana example. American Mineralogist, 94, 837-840.
  • Bellamy, J.M. and Gunter, M.E. 2008. Morphological characterization of Libby “six-mix” used in in vivo studies. Periodico di Mineralogia, 77, 75-82.
  • Gunter, M.E. 2008. Idaho’s “Star” Garnet. In ExtraLapis, Garnet, 50-53, East Hampton, Connecticut.
  • Gunter, M.E., Harris, K.E., Bunker, K.L., Wyss, R.K., and Lee, R.J. 2008. Amphiboles between the sheets: Observations of interesting morphologies by TEM and FESEM. European Journal of Mineralogy, 20, 1035-1041.
  • Gunter, M.E. and Sanchez, M.S. 2008. Amphibole content of commercial vermiculites by powder X-ray diffraction. Periodico di Mineralogia, 77, 35-41.
  • Sanchez, M.S. and Gunter, M.E. 2008. Tests of the correlation between composition and morphology of tremolite from Montgomery County, Maryland, USA. Periodico di Mineralogia, 77, 13-23.
  • Sanchez, M.S., Gunter, M.E., and Dyar, M.D. 2008. Characterization of historical amphibole samples from the former vermiculite mine near Libby, Montana, USA. European Journal of Mineralogy, 20, 1043-1053.
  • Dyar, M.D. and Gunter, M.E. 2007. Mineralogy and Optical Mineralogy. Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly, Virginia, 706 pp.
  • Dyar, M.D., Gunter, M.E., and Tasa, D. 2007. Interactive mineralogy. Mineralogical Society of America, Chantilly, Virginia, published as DVD-ROM.
  • Gunter, M.E., Belluso, E., and Mottana, A. 2007. Amphiboles: Environmental and health concerns. In Amphiboles: Crystal Chemistry, Occurrences, and Health Concerns, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 67:453-516.
  • Gunter, M.E., Sanchez, M.S., and Williams, T.J. 2007. Characterization of chrysotile samples for the presence of amphiboles from the Carey Canadian deposit, southeastern Quebec, Canada. Canadian Mineralogist, 45:263-280.
  • Taunton, A.E. and Gunter, M.E. 2007. Introducing medical geology to undergraduates as a critical thinking and risk assessment tool. Journal of Geoscience Education, 55:169-180.
  • Bandli, B.R. and Gunter, M.E. 2006. A review of scientific literature examining the mining history, geology, mineralogy, and amphibole asbestos health effects of the Rainy Creek Igneous Complex, Libby, Montana USA. Inhalation Toxicology 18:949-962.

  • Health effects of mineral dusts
    I work on several fronts in this area: 1) characterization of "asbestos" minerals in both commercial and non-commercial settings, 2) collaboration with medical researchers to better understand mineral exposures and interactions of minerals in the human lung, and 3) policy and regulatory agencies providing information on mineralogical issues.
  • Geological & mineralogical education
    My work involves developing teaching materials that incorporate current pedagogy and state-of-the art computer animations, specifically in mineralogy. We are also starting a new project building on our successful mineralogy textbook, and accompanying DVD, to develop an introductory geology lab that will be interactive and distance delivered.
  • Optical mineralogy
    I continue to be involved in joint projects to characterize new minerals, in which my role is to determine the mineral's optical properties. I am also working on the development of new methods and instrumentation to determine the optical properties of crystalline materials, and the integration of spindle stage methods into modern spectroscopy systems so as to determine the orientational dependence of the physical properties of anisotropic minerals.


Department of Geological Sciences

Physical Address:
McClure Hall 203

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3022
Moscow, ID 83844-3022

Phone: 208-885-6192


Web: Geological Sciences