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Thursday, October 24 2013

There is probably no more appropriate place for a mineral museum than in Butte, Montana, better known as the Richest Hill on Earth. The state itself is nicknamed The Treasure State, so with monikers like those, you know you’re going to see a lot of prized specimens! Situated on the Montana Tech Campus, the Mihighland centennial gold nuggetneral Museum is free and open to the public. While the museum’s collection numbers more than 15,000 specimens, about 1,300 from Montana and around the world are currently on display.

One of the highlights in the Mineral Museum is the “Highland Centennial Gold Nugget” weighing 27.5 troy ounces. The nugget got its name because it was found in the Highland Mountains south of Butte in 1989. The nugget is believed to be the 7th largest gold nugget found in Montana. A 400-pound smoky quartz crystal, referred to as “Big Daddy,” was unearthed just east of Butte. Because of Montana’s long tradition of mining, you’ll see impressive examples of colorful bornite, garnet, azurite, agate, sapphires, and more. If you want to take a sample home, you’ll find small pieces for sale in the gift shop. There’s also a good selection of books relating to minerals.

Don’t miss the museum’s display of fluorescent minerals. Cases are in a separate room and are illuminated in both long and short wavelength ultraviolet light. It’s amazing how ordinary-looking minerals radiate extraordinary vibrant shades of pink, orange, and blue when exposed to ultraviolet light. You won’t believe how halite (also known as salt) changes from white to red. Kids especially think it’s just plain fun being in the Fluorescent Room surrounded by a crazy glowing rainbow of rocks!

The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Earthquake Studies office is also located in the Mineral Museum. Watch the seismic activity from Montana and around the world as it is recorded and printed on the seismographs.

IF YOU GO

Montana Tech Mineral Museum

Montana Tech Campus

1300 West Park St. • Butte, MT  59701 • (406) 496-4414

  • Summer Hours: Daily, 9 AM – 5 PM (June 15 through September 15)
  • Winter Hours: Weekdays, 9 AM – 4 PM
  • Admission is Free, although donations are appreciated.
  • Elevator Access to the Mineral Museum is located between the Museum building and the Chemistry building on the campus of Montana Tech.
Posted by: Denise AT 09:56 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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