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Mineralogy and Petrology Collection

Introduction

This collection consists of over 6,500 mineral specimens from all over the world and more than 13,000 rock samples from Israel and other countries including some very rare meteorite samples and other exotic rocks such as the Mottled Zone (Hatrurim) collection of ‘burnt’ rocks – Cretaceous organic matter rich rocks in Israel and Jordan that caught fire and underwent metamorphism at high temperatures. These colourful rocks decorate many buildings in Jerusalem (for example the Ballroom of the King David Hotel) and form the bright red rocks very visible on the road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea in the road cut at Ma’ale Adumim. The Hatrurim collection, especially the rare minerals such as bentorite, has been requested by scientists and other people from all over the world. The unique specimens are on display at the Earth Science’s Institute Gallery, including a section dedicated to the stratigraphy and geology in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

The collection also hosts donations from private collectors and samples that have been used for research in Israel. These include the outstanding Marcus collection with its emphasis on South African ore and Precambrian rocks including a selection of copper minerals from the famous Tsumeb mine in Namibia, where flooding has totally destroyed access to the underground deposits. The collection also includes meteorite samples from various parts of the world and at present we are in the first stages of systematic search for Meteorites that may have fallen in Israel.

A number of the most unique specimens are displayed in the Earth Science Institute gallery, including exhibitions such as the crystal morphology of hematite, calcite, quartz and gypsum, forms and colors of mineral in nature, gemstones, fossils, unique volcanic samples and a section dedicated to the geology and rocks in the vicinity of Jerusalem. We also have a small fluorescent minerals exhibition.

The Geological and Mineralogical collections are used by the Earth Science institute’s staff for reference, preparation of standards or calibration of the different analytical instruments of the institute.

Teaching and Education

Organized groups, especially from the Nature Park and Galleries museum visit the Earth Sciences building and study the geology of Israel and other countries through the “eyes” of the collection specimens. The Belmonte science centre for youth promotes a program to encourage the teaching of geology at schools. The collection is frequently used for teaching geology students in different courses such as earth materials and mineralogy and petrology.

Collection Staff

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