Harvard Museum of Natural History reopens renovated Earth & Planetary Sciences gallery April 6

April 6, 2013

On Saturday, April 6, the Harvard Museum of Natural History’s former Mineral gallery will reopen with new exhibits which will address key geological themes including: plate tectonics, geologic time, rock types and formation, and planetary geology.

The newly renovated Earth & Planetary Sciences gallery will feature a spectacular array of stunning minerals and intriguing rocks from the collections of Harvard’s Mineralogical and Geological Museum, some of which will be on public display for the very first time. Visitors will come face-to-face with rock and mineral specimens that date back to the beginning of our solar system and trace the dynamic history of Earth.

The new exhibition will highlight exciting new research in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and offer a broad overview of the dynamic processes and events that formed our planet and have shaped its continuing evolution. Uncover mysteries of our planet’s origins revealed in ancient meteorites and in terrestrial rock containing some of the very oldest minerals on Earth, zircon crystals that have survived intact for 4.3 billion years! Explore what current science reveals about the powerful tectonic forces that form our planet’s surface and continue to transform its lands and oceans. Learn to “read” rocks and minerals for evidence of geologic processes, change, and the emergence of life. Find out how and why some Harvard researchers traverse rugged landscapes, endure frigid conditions, and elude grizzly bears in pursuit of unanswered questions about the geology of the high Arctic.

The exhibition opening lecture will be presented by Francis A. Macdonald, Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, who will speak on “Geological Exploration of the Arctic” on Thursday, April 4 at 6:00 pm in the museum’s Geological Lecture Hall at 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge.

Macdonald will discuss his group’s research and recent developments in understanding the geological evolution of the Arctic. Global warming is rapidly melting the Arctic ice sheets and opening up more of the Arctic Ocean for geologic exploration. Some of this exploration is purely economic, yet some is also enriching our understanding about the tectonic, climatic, and biological evolution of Earth. Following the talk, Harvard Museum of Natural History members are invited to further explore these and other ideas that are on display in the newly renovated Earth & Planetary Sciences gallery. The lecture is free and open to the public, with free parking in the adjacent 52 Oxford Street garage. To join as a member to attend the post-lecture reception, call 617.496.6972.

About the Harvard Museum of Natural History

With a mission to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the human place in it, the Harvard Museum of Natural History draws on the University’s collections and research to present a historic and interdisciplinary exploration of science and nature. More than 200,000 visitors annually make it the University’s most-visited museum. One of the four Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is located on the University campus at 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, a seven-minute walk from the Harvard Square T station. The museum is open daily 9 am to 5 pm, and admission is $12/adults; $10 seniors/students and $8 youth age 3-18. For more information, please call 617.495.3045.

Media Contact: Blue Magruder Director of Communications Harvard Museum of Natural History bluemagruder@hmnh.harvard.edu 617-496-0049 Released: March 13, 2013 Cambridge, MA 

See also: Press Release