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Department of Mineral Sciences

Izalco Volcano

Locality Collection

Locality Collection

Most of the petrology collection is organized into small suites of rocks from the same locality, such as a particular quadrangle or geologic setting. They may be petrogenetically related, and are usually described in at least one reference, often a publication of the United States Geological Survey. Some of the most outstanding mineralogical specimens have been relocated to the National Gem and Mineral Collections. 67,665 specimens.


Volcanological Reference Collection

Volcanological Reference

Includes specimens from 291 different volcanoes or volcanic fields. Many, but not all, are from dated eruptions. Includes a large suite (1400 specimens) from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory of eruptive material from Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes organized by eruption year, as well as 369 drill cores from the Kilauea Iki and Makaopuhi lava lakes. 6445 specimens, not including drill cores. Volcanic Glass Database...


Ore Collection

Ore Collection

A systematic collection of metallic ores and mineral commodities. Includes metal-bearing minerals and massive ore-bearing material (primarily from major U.S. mines opened prior to 1930), as well as some non-metallic minerals and commodities such as pigments, abrasives, salts, clays, and hydrocarbons. Ore specimens that are mineralogically outstanding have been relocated to the National Gem and Mineral Collections. 19,221 specimens.


Sea Floor Rock Collection

Seafloor Rocks

Dredged and cored specimens from mid-ocean ridges, seamounts, and fracture zones. Areas best represented include the Galápagos Spreading Center, Juan de Fuca Ridge, and the North Atlantic Ocean. Includes large collections of basaltic glass and manganese nodules. The Volcanic Glass Database contains electron microprobe analysis of ocean floor glasses. 9904 specimens, and an additional 840 manganese nodule specimens.


Ultramafic Xenolith Collection

Ultra Mafic Rocks

Ultramafic mantle xenoliths and related rocks. Best represented areas include the Kimberley mines of the Republic of South Africa; the Eifel Volcanic Field in Germany; the San Carlos Volcanic Field in Arizona; Salt Lake Crater, Hualalai, and Mauna Kea volcanoes in Hawaii; the Central Sierra Nevada Batholith in California; and the Harrat al Birk, Harrat al Kishb, Harrat al Uwayrid, Harrat Harairah, and Harrat Ithnayn Volcanic Fields in Saudi Arabia. 2465 specimens.


E. Dale Jackson Collection

E. Dale Jackson Collection

Rocks and ores from layered igneous complexes, ultramafic xenoliths, and ophiolites assembled, documented, and interpreted in publications by Everett Dale Jackson. Highlights include a comprehensive collection of Hawaiian xenoliths and a suite of rocks from the Stillwater Complex, Montana. 5878 specimens.


Petrographic Reference Collection

Petrographic Reference

Historic collection assembled between 1896 and 1924 by the United States Geological Survey and classified according to the CIPW system of classification and nomenclature developed by Whitman Cross, J.P. Iddings, L.V. Pirsson, and H.S. Washington. Each specimen has a thin section with an accompanying detailed petrographic description and most are chemically analyzed and described in the geologic literature. 2193 specimens. An additional 1581 specimens from the personal collection of H. S. Washington, as well as 1302 specimens from the J. P. Iddings collection are also available.


Lithologic Reference Collection

Lithologic Reference

A "library" of exotic as well as typical examples of most of the common igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rock types represented in the National Collection. Few of these samples have been described or chemically analyzed, and field names have been applied. 6352 specimens.



Petrologic Features Collection

Petrologic Features Collection

Examples of display or educational quality that exhibit special features such as ripple marks, mudcracks, raindrop impressions, folds, faults, coprolites, ventifacts, concretions, stylolites, and trace fossils, etc. 1179 specimens.



Island Rocks Collection

Island Rocks

Rocks from island arcs and other islands around the world, including the Azores, Marianas, Easter Island, Guam, Christmas Island, and Ascension Island, with additional island rocks located in the Volcanological Reference Collection. 991 specimens.



Building Stones Collection

Building Stones

Rocks utilized for building and ornamentation, composed primarily of material received from the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876 and from the Tenth Census at the close of an investigation into the quarrying industries of the U.S. in 1880. Most specimens are from domestic quarries, with some foreign varieties represented, if imported into the U.S. between 1880 and 1920. A substantial portion of the original collection was transferred to the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in the late 1940s for weathering tests. In 1989, the NBS changed its name to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) . 714 specimens remain.


Fulgurite Collection

Fulgurite Collection

Rock and sand specimens that have been struck by lightning, and pseudofulgurites (melted by burning coal seams, downed powerlines, and other mechanisms) from various localities. 69 specimens.



Impactite Collection

Impactite Collection

Shocked rocks from impact structures around the world, including: Aouelloul, Bosumtwi, Charlevoix, Dalgaranga, Decaturville, Gosses Bluff, Henbury, Lappajarvi, Lonar, Manicougan, Manson, Meteor (Barringer), New Quebec, Nicholson, Odessa, Ries, Rochechouart (Chassenon), Siljan, Sudbury, Tenoumer, Vredefort, Wabar, and Wells Creek. Also available are shocked rocks from two man-made craters at the Nevada Test Site, USA - Sedan and Danny Boy. Often the corresponding meteoritic material is also represented in the National Meteorite Collection. 894 specimens.


Drill Core Collection

Drill Core Collection



Besides cores from Hawaiian lava lakes in the HVO collection, the Uvalde Core collection is the largest: 2000 feet of basalt core from the Uvalde, Texas area (MOHO test core) transferred from the National Science Foundation . Organized by depth interval. 260 specimens.




Recent and Pending Acquisitions

A number of large collections are awaiting the attention of the collection manager, and have yet to be inventoried. However, they are available for legitimate research requests prior to the completion of accession work. These large collections include: kimberlites and related rocks from the B. C. Hearn, Jr. collection, the Bayan Obo ore deposit in China collected by E. T. Chao, the H. Wilshire collection of xenoliths and Cima volcanics, the E. Cameron collection of ores from South Africa, the P. C. Bateman collection of granitic rocks from the Sierra Nevada, the Tonstein collection assembled by P. Lyon and W. Outerbridge, Eugene Shoemaker collections of impactites, Robert Smith collection of obsidian and welded tuff, Joe Boyd collection of ultramafic xenoliths, and many others.

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