Our planet has both land and ocean. Land is comprised of rocks — and geology is the earth science that studies the physical makeup of our planet as well as the processes that change it. Meanwhile, the study of rocks is called petrology. Petrology is a specialized branch of geology.
There are three types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. We learned there is a hobby called rock collecting, which we became very interested in. Rocks tend to be comprised of several types of minerals. Minerals, in turn, are created by geological processes, and they have specific physical and chemical arrangements. The study of minerals is called mineralogy. Interestingly enough, a mineral that is valued highly by humans is called a gem. Gemology is the study of gems. We decided to learn more by visiting the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society.
The San Diego Mineral and Gem Society has a museum that showcases different minerals and gems.
Many items on the display cases appeared polished. That’s because the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society also exhibits lapidarian works. A lapidary is a stonecutter who polishes stones and precious gems.
There were also crystalline specimens and even geodes. On the surface, a geode looks like a plain rock. But, when it is opened, one can find that its inner cavity is lined with crystals.
There was a diorama at the museum, too. That’s because there’s a strong history of hunting for minerals, gems and precious stones, even precious metals that goes as far back as the Old Wild West.
Besides that, the museum had a number of fossils arrayed for viewing. Fossils are remains or impressions of organisms from long ago that are preserved in rock or stone.
One of the highlights from the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society‘s museum collection was a fossilized bird. It was a Confuciusornis sanctus, which was dated as 120-125 million years old. View the gallery below.
We had so much fun at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society‘s museum that we started our rock collection, too. Maybe in time we’ll be more than just casual collectors and turn into bona fide rockhounds.