London/ Quick Notes/ United Kingdom

Geology touristing at the Natural History Museum

Geology is big in my household because that’s what being married to The Geologist is like. Surprised? I thought not.

When we went to the Natural History Museum the other day, it wasn’t with a geological agenda but we kind of got caught up in the rocks and minerals. My pictures today aren’t scientific. They’re just to appreciate the beauty of these wonderful things beneath our feet.

To start, here’s my favourite saint with his dragon, stamped on a coin of gold.

Gold sovereign coin at the Natural History Museum

Gold sovereign coin at the Natural History Museum

In nature, gold comes in a lot of forms. It’s very heavy and soft. This particular sample is gorgeous. I’m glad they didn’t make it into a coin.

Geology collections include this sample of native gold, Natural History Museum

Geology collections include this sample of native gold, Natural History Museum

Actually, we didn’t start at the gold, I just started the pictures with it. One of the first things we found in the museum was the floor. Filled with fossils! My foot is in there for scale. These fossils were created from the hard body parts of little squid-like creatures who used to swim around.

Fossils in the floor at the Natural History Museum, London

Fossils in the floor at the Natural History Museum, London

 

Deeper into the museum and we reached this stunning table top made of Devonshire marbles. The fossils again show up as a decorative feature.

Devonshire marble table top at the Natural History Museum

Devonshire marble table top at the Natural History Museum

And another big fossil, the full shell, cut in half. Marvellous! I call the round curly ones ammonites and the long tubular ones nautiloids, and it ends there. Geology can be transmitted by osmosis but only one piece of information per year.

Ammonite fossil cross-section

Ammonite fossil cross-section

Well, enough of the historical beings turning to stone. Back to the pretty ones.

This is one way opals occur. Lovely, isn’t it?

Opal veins in a rock from Australia at the Natural History Museum

Opal veins in a rock from Australia at the Natural History Museum

Minerals grow in all manner of shapes and sizes.

Crocolite from Tasmania

Crocolite from Tasmania

And for today’s star of the show, ruby red. This stone is Alexandrite. It’s remarkable because it changes from red to green according to the light. Here is the green view changing to red.

Alexandrite midway between green and red, Natural History Museum

Alexandrite midway between green and red, Natural History Museum

And here it is looking ruby red. I believe this is all about polarity and crystal alignment. Perhaps the moon is in the Seventh House.

Alexandrite at the Natural History Museum, London

Alexandrite at the Natural History Museum, London

There are always more rocks than time. Marry a geologist.

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