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Nr. 93, 27.01.2018  voriger  Übersicht  weiter

The traces of stones

Museums always have something to do with preserved time. Kiel University’s Geo­logical and Mineralogical Museum even focuses on preserving eternity and infinity, at least according to human dimensions.


Dr Eckart Bedbur, head of the Geological and Mineralogical Museum with his “adder stone”, which he found himself. Foto: Geologisches und Mineralogisches Museum

This skolithos trace fossil, which can be seen in one of the museum’s display cases has been around for a good 250 million years. An incomprehensible number by normal mortal standards, but seemingly young from the earth’s point of view, whose age has been estimated at about four and a half billion years. The spatial origin of some exhibits also surpasses what we people can really grasp.

A ‘glory display case’ presents a meteorite, which is special in several ways. Not only did it, like all meteorites, originate from the apparently endless son system, but on top of that, it is also an actual fragment from Kiel. The stone fell from the sky in 1962 in Friedrichsort, where it blasted through the tin roof of a house. Museum Director, Dr Eckart Bedbur, grins, because this contact with the tin caused another exclusive feature: “It is the only meteorite in red.”

In Kiel – we have to be honest – you can now only see half of the meteorite. The rest has been spread around museums across the world in lots of little pieces.

Another conspicuous stone can also only be found in Kiel - a so-called adder stone, which Bedbur found himself during an excursion near Stolpe. This impressive specimen distinguishes itself through a naturally occurring hole in its body and, according to folklore, has magical powers. No less impressive is the Black Smoker - a stone from hydrothermal vents in the deep sea, which releases particles when it cools down that look like a plume of smoke.

We could list several of these special features, but they do not depict the Geological and Mineralogical Museum’s most striking aspect. “First and foremost, it is a teaching collection,” says Eckart Bedbur to explain the simple yet important signifi­cance of the room, with its 350 square metres of exhibition space. There is a lecture hall directly opposite, so that stud­ents can often closely observe their current topic. This presents an interesting offer for the fields of Geology, Geo­graphy and Marine Science.

At the same time, the museum would also like to pass inform­ation on to those interested who are not necessarily experts. The display cases are systematically organised and provide a lot of basic facts about what constitutes the earth. The attention to detail is particularly fascinating. Countless examples show how atoms form into molecules and create structures, which correspond precisely to the crystals which result from these compounds. Other areas show the broad spectrum of minerals and ores, or are dedicated to palaeontology with their sometimes beautiful images of primeval beings.

And so it is that the museum still has an external effect, despite having to let its presentation of a huge number of stones in close quarters slide, due to its significance for teaching. Schools, kindergartens and companies regularly enjoy trips to Ludewig-Meyn-Straße. Real hits include special exhibitions, like the one a few years ago about Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, which attracted visitors from throughout Germany and triggered great media attention.

Martin Geist

Geological and Mineralogical Museum
Ludewig-Meyn-Straße 12 (uni campus)
Opening times: Mondays to Thursdays 8:30am to 4pm, Fridays 8:30am to 2pm and by appointment, entrance is free, tours require booking and are available all year round.
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