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Niven, William 1850-

Mineralogist and explorer; born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Oct. 6, 1850; was educated in the common schools in Scotland; came to the United States in 1879; and was engaged in mineralogical investigations in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico till 1884, when he became assistant commissioner for Arizona to the World's Fair in New Orleans. He discovered four new minerals: thorogummite, yttridlite, and nivenite, in Llano county, Tex., in 1889, and aguilarite, at Guanajuato, Mex., in 1891. He also noted the occurrence of rare and valuable minerals on Manhattan Island (New York City), and in West Paterson, N. J., in 1895 and 1896. While prospecting in the state of Guerrero, Mex., in 1891, he discovered the remains of a prehistoric city, Omitlan, hundreds of square miles in extent. He afterwards carried on extensive explorations and excavations in that locality, and brought to light many valuable relics, most of which are in the Museum of Natural History in New York City, which furnished the funds for the work.

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