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Exploring: The Mineral Galleries

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Yesterday I went down to London, mainly to go to a lecture but also, as I was in the neighbourhood, to spend the day at the Natural History Museum, somewhere that I’ve never really lingered very much.

Mineral Galleries, Natural History Museum

I’m so glad that I did. It’s treasure trove of fascinating exhibits and, though I didn’t find as many fossils as I’d hoped for on display I did discover the Mineral Galleries, up in the roof, which yielded an astounding array of colourful textures and surfaces:

mineral Samples, Natural History Museum sm

Some of these macro shots are almost reminiscent of a coral reef, with the minerals forming either beautifully organic structures or some really rather mathematical constructs, all effortlessly intersecting angles and sharp lines.

Plus, tucked away up there, I found two whole cases of silver mineral samples, some of which reminded me very much of those that I saw in Edinburgh, in January, all long, coiling wires that occurred naturally as the silver formed:

Silver Mineral Samples, Natural History Museum, London 2015

The two samples on the plinth are particularly large examples of these natural wires and are still attached to the rocks upon which they grew. They were found in Norway in 1834 and 1886 respectively, they hail from the Kongsberg Silver mines and are now housed in the Museum’s Vault exhibition space.