While we were in DC, we managed to sneak in a visit to the Museum of Natural History. And right next to the Hope Diamond (which, umm, looked surprisingly small. I’d envisioned something fist-sized, which goes to show how little I know about diamonds) there were some really cool rocks.
The first thing I saw were balalt columns.
I got really excited because I wrote about last April and how they often form hexagons. So I took a closer look:
Yup, a perfect hexagon pentagon. But there were a few hexagons around it, and it was pretty neat looking.
Then I moved to the minerals. There was some neat symmetry in these twin crystals:
(Here’s the info on them.)
Then I saw cubes. Lots and lots of cubes, because a bunch of crystals grow that way. There was this Fluorite from Spur Mountain mine, Cave in Rock in Illinois.
Then there’s this fluorite in gypsum, which is neat both because the cube is embedded in a see-through rock and because it’s from Penfield, which is just down the street from Rochester. Seriously, you could pretty much walk there, and it’s an easy bike ride.
Does anyone know if these rocks are related to the stuff that’s in toothpaste?
If shiny is more to your liking, here’s a whole bunch of Galite cubes from Missouri.
Here’s the sign. I like taking pictures of signs. Otherwise, how would you know that there’s sphalerite mixed in?
I can’t wait to go back to the Smithsonian again.