Mineral Evolution Exhibit Opens
On April 5, 2017, the Natural History Museum in Vienna unveiled a new permanent exhibit based on Hazen's research. This exhibit will teach visitors about the changes in Earth's mineralogy through time, or "mineral evolution," an idea first proposed by Hazen in 2008.
Hazen's research on mineral evolution demonstrates that Earth's mineralogy has changed through time due to varying physical, chemical, and biological processes. In particular, the emergence of life dramatically shaped Earth's mineralogy -- without life, an estimated 60% of our planet's mineral species would not exist. “There’s a growing awareness of the dramatic changes in Earth’s mineralogy over the past 4.5 billion years. Remarkably, that epic “mineral evolution” story is as much about life as it is about rock. We now realize that minerals and life co-evolved,” says Hazen.
The new exhibit explains each 'stage' of Earth history, with descriptions accompanied by images and mineral specimens. Hazen remarks, “The new Viennese exhibit traces Earth’s changeable appearance through a series of dramatic stages, from a landscape that was primarily black (owing to volcanic basalt), to rusty red, to white (a time of global glaciation), and ultimately to today’s green Earth. Dozens of beautiful mineral specimens, accompanied by explanatory text and dynamic visuals, illustrate each stage.”
The grand opening included a press conference and a public lecture by Hazen.