Professor Bruce Cairncross

Bruce Cairncross is Professor of Geology at the University of Johannesburg. He obtained his MSc from the University of Natal and PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand. He then joined Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) geology department where he served as Head of Department for 14 years, from 2003 to 2016, during which time RAU merged with the Witwatersrand Technikon to form the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He has published extensively on the sedimentology, stratigraphy and associated coal of the Karoo-type (Permo-Carboniferous) successions, primarily in the main Karoo Basin and has supervised several Masters and Doctoral students working on coal-related topics. Professor Cairncross has written 11 books on southern African minerals and gemstones, and published over 150 articles on the same topics. He is an accomplished photographer and has won local and international awards for his photos.


Recent Publications



  1. Cairncross, B. (2013). Guide to borehole core in the Karoo Basin Coalfields. Random House Struik Publishers, Cape Town, COALTECH Publishers, 76 pages.
  2. Cairncross, B. and McCarthy, T.S. (2015). Understanding Minerals & crystals. Struik Nature Random House Struik Natural History Publishing, Cape Town, 312 pages.
  3. Atanasova, M. T., Cairncross, B. and Windisch, W. (2016). Microminerals of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa. Council for Geoscience Popular Series No.  6, 441 pages.
  4. Cairncross, B. (2016). African Treasures – Gemstones and Minerals of Africa. In: Viljoen, R., Viljoen, M. and Anhaeusser, C. Africa’s Top Geological Sites. Special Publication, 35th International Geological Congress, Cape Town. Struik Nature, Random House Struik, Cape Town, 281-290. INVITED CHAPTER.
  5. Cairncross, B. (2019). Minerals and Gemstones of East Africa. Struik Nature, Random House Struik, Cape Town, 141 pages.
  6. Cairncross, B. (submitted). Minerals and Gemstones of southern Africa. Struik Nature, Random House Struik, Cape Town, South Africa.



  1. Barbolini, N., V. Nxumalo, N. Wagner, V., Kramers, J., Vorster, C., Cairncross, B. and Bamford. M.K. (2019). Palynostratigraphic correlation of the Springbok Flats coalfield to other coal-bearing successions in the Karoo basins of southern Africa. South African journal of Geology, vol. 122(1), 1-16.  
  2. Cairncross, B. (2019). Connoisseur’s Choice: duftite after wulfenite. Rocks & Minerals, 94(1), 54-59.  
  3. Cairncross, B. (2019). The where of mineral names: Mammothite, Mammoth-St. Anthony mine, Arizona, USA. Rocks & Minerals, 94(1), 92-95.  
  4. Cairncross, B. (2019). Tarbuttite: Connoisseur’s Choice, Rocks & Minerals. 94(2), 150-155.  
  5. Southwood, M., Cairncross, B. and Rumsey, M. (2019). The minerals of Kabwe mine, Zambia. Rocks & Minerals. 94(2), 114-148.  
  6. Cairncross, B. (2019). Nimite: The where of minerals names. Rocks & Minerals. 94(2), 191-193.  
  7. Cairncross, B. (2019). Connoisseur’s Choice. Vonbezingite. Rocks & Minerals. 94(3), 250-253.  
  8. Cairncross, B. (2019). Gamagarite: the where of mineral names. Rocks & Minerals. 94(3), 280-285.  
  9. Cairncross, B. (2019). Senegalite: the where of mineral names. Rocks & Minerals. 94(5), 460-462.  
  10. Gliozzo, E., Cairncross, B. and Venneman, T. (2019). A geochemical and micro-textural comparison of basalt-hosted chalcedony from the Jurassic Drakensberg and Neoarchaean Ventersdorp Supergroup (Vaal River Alluvial Gravels), South Africa. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 108, 1857-1877.  
  11. Cairncross, B. (2019). Roymillerite: Who’s who in mineral names, Rocks & Minerals. 94(5), 475-476.  
  12. Cairncross, B. (2019). Connoisseur’s Choice: Tanzanite gem variety of zoisite: Merelani Hills, Simanjiro District Manyara Region, Tanzania, Rocks & Minerals. 94(6), 530-537.
  13. Cairncross, B. (2019). Rhodochrosit Südafrika. ExtraLapis 56. Christian Weise Verlag, München, 12-33.
  14. Cairncross, B. and James-Kleynhans, K. (2019). The mineral collection of the Johannesburg Geological Museum. The Mineralogical Record 50(4), 475-490.


  1. Cairncross, B. (2020). Wesselsite: the where of mineral names. Rocks & Minerals. 95(3):282-285.  
  2. Cairncross, B. (2020). Karibibite: the where of mineral names. Rocks & Minerals. 95(2), 174-179.   
  3. Cairncross, B. (2020). Taniajacoite: Who’s who in mineral names, Rocks & Minerals. 95(2), 180-182.  
  4. Cairncross, B. (2020). Connoisseur’s Choice: Kermesite, Globe and Phoenix mine, Kwekwe District, Zimbabwe. Rocks & Minerals, 95(5)440-446.
  5. Cairncross, B. (2020). Connoisseur’s Choice: Grossular variety tsavorite, Merelani Hills, Tanzania.
  6. Rocks & Minerals, 95(3)252-259.  
  7. Cairncross, B. (2020). Nigerite: the where of mineral names. Rocks & Minerals.  95(4), 377-379.  
  8. Cairncross, B. (2020) Connoisseur’s Choice: Nambulite, Kombat Mine, Grootfontein, Otjozondjupa Region, Namibia, Rocks & Minerals, 95:6, 530-534. 
  9. Cairncross, B. (2020) The Where of Mineral Names: Hotsonite, Hotson 6 Mine, Koenabib Farm (Hotson 42 Farm), Khâi-Ma, Namakwa, Northern Cape, South Africa, Rocks & Minerals, 95:6, 567-570. 3
  10. Bamford, M., Cairncross, B. and Lombaard, H. (2020). Fossil wood from the Permian Middleton Formation, Beaufort Group, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. South African Journal of Geology, 123(4), 


  1. Cairncross, B. (2021). Southern lights: fluorescent minerals from southern Africa. Rocks & Minerals, 96(1), 44-53. 
  2. Cairncross, B. (2021). Connoisseur’s Choice: Boltwoodite, Goanikontes Claim, Arandis, Erongo Region, Namibia. Rocks & Minerals, 96(3), 238-246.   
  3. Cairncross, B. (2021). The minerals of Berg Aukas, Otavi Mountainland, Namibia. Rocks & Minerals, 96(2), 110-147.  
  4. Cairncross, B. (2021). The Witwatersrand goldfield, South Africa. Rocks & Minerals, 96(4), 296-351.