Fossils, Rocks, and Minerals

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  1. Fossil Lake

    Some of the best examples of life during the Tertiary Period come from one extraordinary site in southwestern Wyoming called Fossil Lake. Although Fossil Lake has a cold, snowy climate today, its fossils offer us an unusual snapshot of a community of organisms that lived in a tropical lake 50 million years ago. Touch fossil fishes, insects, and the earliest known bat fossil cast. Learn More
  2. Shake, Rumble, and Roll

    Earth's surface is a complex, dynamic system fractured into zones called tectonic plates. These plates are in constant motion, causing earthquakes when they move past one another. Use this box to understand the theory of continental drift, the evidence supporting the theory, and how this theory provides the context for earthquakes. Use a seismograph to learn how scientists measure earthquakes and simulate an earthquake to find out how man-made structures might react to ground movements. Learn More
  3. Geology of Illinois

    Parts of Illinois were once covered with glacial ice sheets. Learn how glaciers and other Earth processes shaped the land. Box includes photographs, rock and soil specimens, and maps. Learn More
  4. Coal Mine Model

    Dive into the difficult underground world of coal mining. Complete with tiny workers and machinery, this model exhibits the ways in which we locate and harvest this all-important fuel. Learn More
  5. Origin of Coal

    Discover the incredibly time consuming process nature uses to create coal. Closely linked to fossilization, the various stages of coal production are displayed in samples here. Learn More
  6. Interior of the Earth

    Dig underneath the Earth's surface to get a glimpse of the great stratification found there. Examine the surface and notice how much denser and more compact the inward layers become. Learn More
  7. Salt

    Salt may be a common table seasoning, but it also has a variety of other uses. Our most common salt, sodium chloride, can be found in seawater, salt springs, marshes and soil. Discover these examples as well their many applications. Learn More

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