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category: History, date: 2012-08-26, by Otto Bochman
From Rocks to Riches
Museum of Geology at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

From Rocks to Riches

If you were raised on a farm in South Dakota, or if you were a town kid who needed a Saturday job, you probably "picked rock" to get movie money. Never did you take the time to look at the rocks. You'd just throw them into a wagon or a truck, or if they were too large you'd get a tractor and loader.

Geologists, geology students, and rock hounds look at rocks much differently than the average person. For them rocks can reveal history and prehistoric events. Exposed layers, and layers within caves indicated millions of years of activity. The caves of South Dakota contain some of the world's most interesting minerals, crystals, and even gold. Wind Cave, for example, contains an abundant amount of boxwork made of thin blades of calcite that project from cave walls and ceilings, forming a honeycomb pattern and believed to be 300 million years old.

boxwork made of thin blades of calciteboxwork formation
museum of geologymuseum of geology

Boxwork is just one of the many rock formations on exhibit at the Museum of Geology at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Not only does the museum hold exhibits of rocks and minerals from South Dakota, but from all over the world. You can learn much from the museum displays.

The Museum of Geology is much more than rocks and minerals. The South Dakota State Fossil, Triceratops horridus is displayed here. Found in Hell Creek Formation in Harding County, South Dakota, it is believed to be 70 million years old. Styxosaurus, the long-necked plesiosaur is a marine reptile that lived in the great Cretaceous seaway that covered this region before the Black Hills were uplifted. It is not a dinosaur but a marine reptile. Long-necked plesiosaurs have a long history in the Cretaceous of South Dakota.

The discoveries on display in the Museum of Geology at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, particularly those uncovered within South Dakota, make this museum a special place. If you want to see the Edmontosaurus, a common dinosaur, from the Late Cretaceous of South Dakota, or gold specimens from the Black Hills, then make a rock hard decision to visit the Museum of Geology.

EdmontosaurusEdmontosaurus. A common dinosaur, the duck-billed form is from the Latest Cretaceous of South Dakota.
Triceratops horridusTriceratops horridus - South Dakota's State Fossil - Hell Creek Formation, Harding County, South Dakota
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