Archive for October 24th, 2010

And some useful donations are very small

October 24th, 2010

WOOSTER, OHIO — The Wooster Geology Department is in the process of receiving a very large gift of geological specimens described in the last post. It is also worth noting that some small gifts can be very interesting as well. Last week a local family gave us a handful of fossils; one of them was this fascinating specimen:

Platyceratid snail (Palaeocapulus acutirostre) on a crinoid calyx (Logan Formation; Mississippian of Wooster, Ohio).

Platyceratid gastropods are a Paleozoic group most famous for parasitizing crinoids. They drilled small holes through the crinoid thecal plates and apparently slurped out the gut contents of the unfortunate echinoderms. We usually find platyceratids only as isolated shells (as below), so to be given a specimen of a crinoid calyx with a platyceratid still in place is a treat. Wooster students are fortunate to see it, and once again a donor makes a lasting contribution — even in a single fossil.

Platyceras pulcherrimum from the Logan Formation (Mississippian) of Wooster, Ohio.

Gifts for generations of geology students

October 24th, 2010

WOOSTER, OHIO — The Geology Department at Wooster has received many donations of rocks, minerals and fossils over the years. Collectors are always passionate about their specimens, so when they decide to donate their treasures they want them to go where they will be most useful. What better place than a college? We put collections to work right away in our teaching labs and display cases. Because rocks are so durable, these are gifts which serve for decades.

About a third of the rock, mineral and fossil collection recently donated to the Geology Department at Wooster. Here they are in their original home.

Today Meagen Pollock and I visited the Ohio family of a geology alumna and began the process of transferring their donated specimens to Wooster: gorgeous crystals, an amazing diversity of fossil shells, and spectacular dinosaur bones. There are so many boxes that we will have to make a second trip in a cargo van to transport the rest. It is the largest donation we have ever been given.

An exceptionally complete collection of fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals is part of the donation.

Our teaching will be improved by access to these new specimens, and they will stimulate the imaginations of generations of students. We hope to post later on how this collection is being used in our labs and hallways.