Naturkundemuseum — Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften: Beryll

5.940 Karat (1,180 g)
Malacacheta bei Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brasilien

Dieser große Beryll-Kristall stammt aus einem Edelstein-Pegmatit in Brasilien.
Die Edelsteinpegmatite von Diamantina sind seit dem 17. Jh. bekannt.


Muzeum Geologiczne Instytutu Nauk Geologicznych PAN w Krakowie

Wandering down a side street in Kraków Old Town, I see a Geological Museum. I knew there is a mineral museum somewhere. This wasn’t it. I was a little chafed at both museums housing the large mediæval art collections were closed for restoration, and having no real aim in mind and liking all things geo and tectonic, decided to go in. The archæological museum as well was directly around the corner.

It’s a really small museum, more of an exhibition, a room about 60 square metres. What it doesn’t have in size, the Muzeum Geologiczne makes up for with an utter lack of wasting of time. There was a really nice guy on the desk who gave me a folder for english translations of everything … everything, but wow if every museum took attention to detail like this one did. Information overload? Yes! And! “The rocks. You can touch, also.” Excitement!

A clarification, it’s a museum of the geologic history of Kraków and neighbourhood predominately, with some general Poland and Carpathians thrown in as required. It starts with a nice geologic map of the area and NS and WE cross-sections. Then it throws a wall-sized map of all the impact craters and other stuff that’s slammed into Poland from above.

The main room is split into three areas: the left wall with covering several geologic periods from Precambrian to Holocene, the right covering plate tectonics in the region (with some tasty photos of limestone cliffs), and the centre display cases of wood, plant, and shell fossils from the various epochs. Plus a monstrous cubic block of salt.

It’s brief, consistent, and comprehensive for such a small exhibition. Each period has a stratigraphic log, text explaining the different processes at work and the resulting rocks, minerals, landforms, samples of minerals, rocks, ore, crystals, all in a glass case, and then a few bits to pick up and turn over. It sounds a little dry but for me it wasn’t. Probably because it wasn’t 3 hours of room after room of this. It’s obviously been assembled by knowledgeable and passionate geologists, who don’t dumb down the information, yet also present it carefully and attractively. And yes, nicely lit. Actually, it needed about half a room more, to give more room for information to the fossil display cases and the geologic maps.

I wasn’t sure what to blog; I photographed almost everything. So, a few samples and minerals because it’s been a while since pretty invaded supernaut. And that block of crystal salt? It’s about the size of a small person. (And some of the translations I did myself as the fossils weren’t translated in the folder.)

Happy Labour day now get down that mine

As International Labour Day rolls by, China Labour Bulletin released some figures for reported deaths and injuries in the country’s death-trap coalmines, and Channel NewsAsia has a piece on the latest daily disasters in two northern state-owned coalmines which have left 50 dead.

The accidents came as China pledged to improve worker’s rights and as a Hong Kong-based labour rights group warned that a total lack of independent worker’s organizations was contributing to the appalling safety record in Chinese mines.

A gas explosion ripped through a mine in northern Shanxi province on Friday leaving 35 dead and one missing, while 15 miners were feared dead after a flood in an illegally operating mine in neighboring Inner Mongolia, officials and press reports said Saturday.

Shanxi governor Zhang Baoshun was overseeing rescue operations and the investigation into the blast at the Liangjiahe state-owned mine near Linfen city, Hou Jieyan, a spokesman for the Shanxi Coal Mining Safety Inspection Bureau told AFP.

Although the governor interrupted his holiday to direct operations at the accident site, before the blast the mine had intended to work through the week-long labour holiday to avoid costly safety procedures.

Most of China’s energy comes from coal, the demand for which is driven by the insatiable economic growth of the last 15 years. Many of the mines are old, unstable and operate clandestinely using workers who have no access to basic safety, health and rights and are unable to form independent unions or engage in collective bargaining.

“Workers and farmers in China are the weakest social classes and they are mainly weak because they have no collective power, if you give them the freedom of association, then these groups would not be so weak,” Han [Dongfang, director of the Hong Kong-based China Labor Bulletin] said.

The accidents come as China Friday agreed to work with the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) to address growing unrest among its tens of millions of unemployed workers and up to 100 million migrant workers through internationally accepted practices.