Geological collections

The geological collections of the Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus show the evolution of the diversity of Earth’s mineral and biological environment over a period of 4.5 billion years. They are further divided into rock and mineral as well as palaeontological collections and include approximately 50,000 mineral and rock specimens, 700 meteorites and 44,000 fossil and bone specimens.

The movement of the tectonic plates and volcanic activity continuously change conditions on our planet. The diversity of rocks, minerals and living organisms has evolved in parallel and through interaction with each other. Geological and paleontological research strives to solve issues involving the origin and evolution of life and Earth.

Rock and mineral collections

Elements created in the Big Bang and inside stars arrange into solid crystalline materials that we call minerals. While gold and carbon frequently occur in nature as elements, minerals are typically compounds of various elements with complementary properties (e.g., hydrogen and oxygen resulting in ice, and fluorine and calcium in fluorite). The composition and structure of minerals tell us a great deal about the crystallisation event, such as the temperature and pressure at the time as well as the composition of the natural system.

Rock types are made of one or several minerals. Igneous rocks are formed in volcanic regions from molten magma. They subsequently disintegrate, form layers and solidify as claystone, sandstone and limestone, and eventually transform into new metamorphic rock types when subjected to intense pressure during the formation of mountain belts or, occasionally, in asteroid impacts.

The specimens of the Luomus rock and mineral collections include the oldest rock type in Europe, and Finnish meteorites and gemstones.

Palaeontological collections

Fossils, or the fossilised remains of living organisms, are included in palaeontological collections.

The treasures of the Luomus palaeontological collections include the cave bear remains gathered by Professor A. von Nordmann (1803–1866) in Ukraine and Central Europe, Professor Björn Kurtén’s (1924–1988) collection charting the evolution of primates, and mammoth tusks found in Alaska.