This past weekend, a new “Meteorites and Minerals” exhibit was launched at Morrill Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City campus.
The event curator, Professor Robert Joeckel of the School of Natural Resources, explained that the exhibit was inspired by Roger Pabian, a geologist of the Conservation and Survey Division of the school.
Pabian, a dedicated rock, gem and fossil collector, passed away two years ago at the age of 75, and the new exhibit was established in part to commemorate him.
Joeckel said: “When Roger passed away, I felt somewhat obligated to take over.” He added that some of the minerals from the collection have a direct relation to everyday life. “The one that is most prevalent is the mineral fillers that make products what they are,” he explained. “Synthetic rubbers and plastics have a lot of mineral material in them.”
Joeckel continued, explaining his hopes that the exhibit would lead people to consider materials and their effect on daily life. “Our national security and our everyday lives depend on a flow of raw materials from the solid earth.”
Some of the minerals, however, are expensive and rare. One of the exhibit’s new purchases is the “Amethyst Cathedral Pair,’ a meteorite containing a big amethyst crystal.
According to University Museum Associate Director Mark Harris, Morrill Hall has never hosted an exhibit as impressive as this. It took over a year to organize, and the items on display were collected through various means. Some were loaned by private collectors, while others were purchased with the help of a Lancaster Country Visitors Improvement Fund grant.
Harris added that he was ecstatic about the new display. “The sheer beauty will blow people’s minds!” he said.