Our newly renovated Earth and Planetary Sciences Gallery is located within the Harvard Museum of Natural History. On display is a fine selection of over 3,200 minerals, gems, rocks, and meteorites from the MGMH collections. The mineral and gems are exhibited in traditional systematic displays based on the Dana classification system, which organizes minerals into classes by chemistry. In total, more than 900 different species are on exhibition from localities around the world. Samples of rare minerals may be viewed as well as exceptional examples of more recognizable species. A birthstone exhibit is on display to complement the systematic mineral and gem exhibits along with a selection of stunning oversized minerals in wall cases that line the gallery.
Rocks that date back to the beginning of the Solar System and trace the dynamic history of our planet are on display in “Earth Through Time,” a recently installed exhibit that traces major geological events throughout the history of Earth with a special focus on New England geology over the past 500 Million years. Included in the exhibit are terrestrial rocks containing some of the oldest minerals on Earth—zircon crystals that have survived intact for 4.3 billion years. Also new to the gallery are exhibits on plate tectonics and Arctic geology that highlight the research of faculty members in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at the university.
The Earth and Planetary Sciences Gallery features a meteorite exhibition that showcases some of the finest meteorites in the collection. Nearly 40 meteorites are on display and include significant specimens such as large touchable iron meteorites, exquisite pallasites, and a sample of Zagami—a meteorite from Mars. Also on view are samples of rare and exceptional meteorites that were donated by Q. David Bowers and Don Edwards.
Swords of China
On loan from a private collection, this close to 400-pound specimen of stibnite called the Swords of China was discovered in 2003 in the Wuning Mine of the Jiangxi Province in the southeast of China. The mineral is comprised of antimony and sulfur, boasts delicate knife-like crystals and is the main ore of the element antimony. An exciting new addition, the Swords of China will be displayed until at least May of 2015 at the third floor entrance to the Harvard Museum of Natural History.