Petrology Collection

Igneous and Metamorphic ('Harker') Collection

This collection is named after leading petrologist Alfred Harker (1859-1939) to honour his importance to petrology and the years he spent in organising and cataloguing the collection in the early 20th Century. Harker brought together various old collections into one scheme of numbering and cataloguing and wrote the first 42,000 entries. The catalogue now contains more than 150,000 entries; usually there is a hand specimen and a thin section for each entry. Samples come from around the world, from the top of Everest to the floors of the oceans.

The collection started with igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks held together at the Sedgwick Museum, but in 1931 the collection was split. The Sedgwick Museum held the sedimentary rocks while the newly formed Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, complete with its own museums, took the igneous and metamorphic ones.

Since the 1930s, accessions have mainly been of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The museums and collections rejoined as the Sedgwick Museum in the 1990s, after the departments were merged into the Department of Earth Sciences.

Sedimentary Petrology ('Maurice Black') Collection

The Sedimentary Petrology Collection can be traced back to the origins of the Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology Collection becoming a collection in its own right when the Sedgwick Museum's igneous and metamorphic rocks were transferred to the Department of Mineraology and Petrology in 1931 (see above). It is also sometimes known as the Maurice Black Collection, after Maurice Black, a carbonate sedimentologist in the Department of Geology who developed the collection during the 1930s-1960s. The collection comprises about 32,000 hand specimens and an unknown number of thin sections. It includes specimens collected by John Stevens Henslow, Adam Sedgwick, Rev. John Hailstone and R.H. Rastall. Many specimens still have Harker Petrology collection numbers and labels written in Harker's handwriting. The collection also includes the Cambridge bore core made by W.B.R. King c.1951. The 'Sedgwick Museum Stratigraphy Collection' of thin sections (about 3,500 specimens) has been cut from many of the specimens in this collection and can therefore be considered as a sub set of it.

        

Monday to Friday
10:00 to 13:00 & 14:00 to 17:00

Saturday
10:00 to 16:00 

Sunday
Closed



How do you get thirty-six 8-11yr olds excited about science in museums? Give them a ‘crime scene’ and skills to solve the crime.



Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition to the North-West Passage has often been in the news ever since he left England on the 19th May, 1845 never to return. Successive searches throughout the 19th century eventually found artefacts and human remains. But it was not until 2014 the wreck of Franklin’s ship, HMS Erebus was found and two years later the wreck of HMS Terror. Now the extraordinary story of HMS Erebus is receiving new publicity thanks to the publication of Michael Palin’s new book – ‘Erebus : the story of a ship’. Whilst the earliest searches did not find any traces of Franklin and his crew, one of them, led by Captain Kellett did find a superb mammoth tusk, which is now part of the Sedgwick Museum’s Ice Age display.