New Museum Exhibit: “What’s inside a rock?”

Have you ever picked up a rock and wondered about what might be inside? This new exhibit puts everyday rocks under the microscope to show the beautiful secrets inside ordinary stones.

What's inside a rock?

This exhibit sheds light on some of the science behind the gorgeous minerals displayed at the museum. It’s great for families and people of all ages!

Come visit to discover the humble ingredient in over half the rocks on Earth’s surface and find out what, exactly, makes something a crystal. You can even check it out during the museum’s upcoming Summer Fest, taking place this year on August 6 & 7 from 10 AM through 5 PM.

TONIGHT: Watch “Unprepared” documentary on OPB

This evening, Thursday, October 1, at 8 PM, OPB will be broadcasting the documentary “Unprepared.” It investigates the state of Oregon’s earthquake preparedness, and, according to OPB’s summary, finds “that when it comes to bridges, schools, hospitals, building codes and energy infrastructure, Oregon lags far behind…”

Watch this evening to learn what Oregonians need to do to become resilient in the face of our seismic threats.

Mystery Mineral Day, Saturday February 28, 2015

If you have any rock, mineral, fossil, gem, or meteorite that you have wanted identified, then you are in luck.  A panel of experts will be on hand on Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 10 AM to 2 PM to not only identify your stone, but tell you its history and other important facts about it. This event is free with regular admission.

Mystery Mineral Day 2015 Flier

Mystery Mineral Day at the Rice NW Museum, February 28, 2015 from 10 AM to 2 PM

Earthquake Science

On Sunday, August 24, 2014, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the Napa Valley of California. According to the National Geographic, the event was centered about 6.7 miles under the earth and was one of the largest in the area since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake that measured 7.0.

Today’s quake was reported by the Earthquake Report Center from San Francisco to Sacramento and classified as a “typical strike-slip earthquake with a mainly horizontal movement.” They called it the “most dangerous earthquake type in the world.” Their web page monitors and updates news about the earthquake.

While reports are still coming in, initial reports suggest this earthquake was triggered by a crack or fault in the earth’s crust known as the Franklin Fault, thought to be dormant for 1.6 million years. Continue reading

History of the Solar System Found in Meteorite

Science Daily reports that planetary scientists from Curtin University found that a unique volcanic meteorite recovered in Western Australia may reveal the violent history of our solar system.

Associate Professor Fred Jourdan, along with colleagues Professor Phil Bland and Dr Gretchen Benedix from Curtin’s Department of Applied Geology, believe the meteorite is evidence that a series of collisions of asteroids occurred more than 3.4 billion years ago.

“This meteorite is definitely one-of-a-kind,” Dr Jourdan said.

“Nearly all meteorites we locate come from Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the solar system. But after studying the meteorite’s composition and orbit, it appears it derived from a large, unidentified asteroid that was split apart during the collisions.”

The research team dated the meteorite with the argon-argon technique, a well-known method for dating impact crater events, to offer a glimpse of the asteroid’s impact history.

Falling to earth in 2007 and believed to originate from Vesta, the scientific team found that the meteorite had not a single impact after 3.4 billion years ago until it arrived on earth, and they recorded three impact events between 3.6 billion and 3.4 billion years ago. This information confirms that some of the bombardment history of the solar system ended after 3.4 billion years, helping scientists with the timeline of the evolution of our region of space.

Meteorites on exhibit at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals.You can read more about this discovery on the report from Curtin University.

The Rice Northwest Museum is home to an outstanding collection of meteorites on exhibit in cooperation with the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory of Portland State University. Each May, the museum celebrates the Annual Meteorite and Family Fun Day with extensive special exhibits, demonstrations, lectures, and more.

Interested in learning more about meteorites? Read our Meteorite article and visit the museum to touch the Gibeon Meteorite from Africa.

Rhodochrosite – The Inca Rose Stone

Among our many Exhibits in the Rice Northwest Rock and Mineral Museum is our popular Rhodochrosite specimens. Rhodochrosite is also known as Inca Rose Stone, Raspberry Spar, and Manganese Spar.

Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate (MnCO3). The carbonates are a group of minerals that contain the anion group CO32-, and are subdivided into the calcite, aragonite, dolomite or hydrated carbonate subgroups. Rhodochrosite belongs to the calcite subgroup. These carbonates are known for having rhombohedral symmetry, which results in the formation of rare rhombohedron shaped crystals.

The name rhodochrosite is derived from the Greek for rose-colored. Rhodochrosite is most commonly pink or red, but may sometimes occur as yellow, grey or brown crystals. Pink and red colors occur when the rhodochrosite has a high manganese content, but some substitution of iron in place of manganese causes other colors. Its density also depends on the amount of manganese present, with a lower density associated with low iron content. Continue reading