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Erich Zirkl
(1923-2001)

Erich Johann Zirkl was born in Vienna, Austria, on April 23, 1923, the son of Maria and Mathias Zirkl, a blacksmith. After graduating from high school in 1941 and earning his PhD degree (in Mineralogy?) from the University of Vienna, he worked for several years at the Mineralogical-Petrographic Institute of the University of Vienna, and did his post-doctoral work there beginning in 1957. In 1963 he took a position at the Technical University of Graz, where he found a rich field of activity in the Institute of Engineering Geology, Petrography and Mineralogy, and in 1974 was appointed Associate Professor. In 1985 he retired.

One of his outstanding achievements was the establishment of the "Lithothek" at the Technical University of Graz: A unique collection of more than 2,000 accurately labelled and documented polished slabs of different types of decorative building stone, each one measuring 20 x 30 cm. Because of his extensive knowledge, Zirkl was probably one of the world's few experts in the petrography of decorative building stone.

Zirkl also oversaw the splendid old mineral collection in the Kremsmünster monastery. He reorganized the collection and assured that historically valuable specimens were appropriately featured. When the monastery acquired the extensive mineral collection of Otmar Wallenta in 1992, Prof. Zirkl was appointed to study the collection. The resulting catalog he produced constitutes a mineralogy of Upper Austria. For his years of effort, he was awarded the Silver Medal of Honor of Upper Austria.

Zirkl was well-known for his excellent mineral photography and his many well-researched articles in various magazines including Lapis and Eisenblüte, as well as his lively, unconventional lectures. His personal bibliography numbers about 200 publications. Ever the avid collector, he was always available to his mineral friends, for whom he provided many species identifications. Zirkl collected not only minerals (he had many thousands of specimens), but also new and antiquarian mineralogy books, Styrian aragonite boxes, and Karlsbad inlay mosaics among other subjects.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Zirkl died on September 27, 2001, in Graz. His mineral collection was sold off over several years, beginning in 2003, with the help of his friends, Simone and Peter Huber. Some specimens went to the Joanneum Museum in Graz, some went to other collectors, and some are now in the Huber collection.

Reference:
HUBER, P. (2001) (Obituary): Univ.-Prof. Dr. Erich J. Zirkl 1923 - 2001. Der steirische Mineralog, 11 (16), p. 2.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Erich Zirkl
The Mineralogical Record - Erich Zirkl Erich Zirkl labels, 55 x 75 mm, some of them dated. (Simone and Peter Huber collection)
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