UMass Amherst to Open New Display of Beautiful, Rare Minerals



DATE:           Friday, Oct. 18

TIME:            11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHAT:          Media Preview Opportunity, Rausch Mineral Gallery

WHERE:       243 Morrill Science Center, 627 North Pleasant St., Amherst


Geologists Mike Williams and Sheila Seaman will be on hand to talk about the gorgeous new Rausch Mineral Gallery, which formally opens to the public on Saturday, Oct. 19.

The UMass Amherst Geosciences Department will open the new Rausch Mineral Gallery with more than 200 spectacular mineral specimens, many rare and unusually large. The new gallery also includes a collection of fluorescent minerals “with incredible colors,” many that have not been displayed in public before. Williams says, “These are irresistible eye-catching specimens. You can’t walk by and not have a look.”

Mineral collector Marvin Rausch came to the UMass Amherst faculty in 1963. Before his death in May 2008, the leading researcher in organometallic chemistry gave some of his extensive mineral collection to the geosciences department, and after his death a fellow collector made it possible for about 200 more specimens to be donated, creating a very fine collection.

Williams has worked for years using the mineral monazite as a tool to date tectonic events such as mountain building in the earth’s crust. “Trying to pinpoint when deformation happens in the crust is difficult,” he says. “It turns out monazite is one of the interests that brought Marv and me together. Marvin had written a paper on monazite in high school, and he retained a lifelong interest in the mineral. He always hoped that minerals and their beauty could serve as a way to attract young scientists to geosciences and chemistry.”

The public grand opening of the Rausch Mineral Gallery is from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday following a day-long climate science symposium. Three of the world’s leading climate scientists will receive honorary degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday. With several other climate experts, they will present new climate data and insights.