Geology 101

Thursday, November 29, 2012

 Just a quick blog today to share some pictures from our program yesterday. The kids were quite excited to be on campus. And a busy day on campus it was. Students everywhere. It was a grey cold day and I have to wonder about all those students' well-being attending a university during the coldest, greyest days of the year surrounded by big grey buildings...

Miller Hall houses the School of Geology, obviously. The kids were very entertained to see classes in action. Upstairs (why, yes, we did explore and poke around before our class...) the kids saw students working independently in large empty classrooms, profs meeting with students and some really old display cases with rocks in them. Miller Hall also houses a very nice museum (including an interactive room complete with sandbox) where we could see lots of rocks; many interesting and unique pieces from our area.

The curator of Miller Museum delivered two programs. The first was a discussion and overview of geology, "An interactive overview of rocks, minerals, fossils and Earth processes illustrated with many touch samples (including a meteorite, a dinosaur bone, examples of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and mineral ores)".

Lapis Lazuli in its natural habitat.
Coral Fossil
Fossilized Shells shown during discussion of early life on earth
Sample of Carbonized Leaves
Lots of hands on time.
A specimen from Canada's fossil forest 1000km above the treeline in NWT. Nothing like fossilized (not petrified!) wood in Canada's north to teach us about Continental drift.

Our second talk was titled The Earth Through Time. "While seated along an 8 meter-long geological time scale graphic, students hear a 50 minute lecture about the major changes in the Earth's geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere since its formation. The talk is illustrated with rocks and fossils spanning the entire 4.6 billion years of Earth history including meteorites, the oldest known terrestrial rocks, the appearance of life and its progression from exclusively single-celled organisms in the beginning to the complex life of the present day." The Curator pulled out some rare samples that were very impressive.

Impressive fossil of a lizard like creature from 250+ million years ago.

Also on the camera were a collection of pictures my kids are becoming known for. Picture after picture of samples of rocks in cases. I have a catalogue of the Gems exhibit at ROM in Toronto as well as a good record of the Smithsonian's rock collection in Washington. I can see us going back to Miller Hall just to hang out when we are in the city.

The Museum is a wonderful mix of 1930's original display cases and more modern methods of imaging and display.

A recently donated collection.

The Boy Child's favourite.

Mrs. A.


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