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Quarry Geology: Following a Volcanologist to the Field

I recently had the opportunity to travel with five geologists to unique sites around the country to understand more about the diverse geologic history around us. We were observing rocks and landscapes to reveal evidence of what happened in Earth’s past. Each of these geologic sites was located at an active rock quarry, which provided unobstructed views of large rock faces and samples that we could collect to look at more closely....Read more
Active pit at White River Quarry in Enumclaw, Wash. The dark rocks on the bottom are old basalt lava flows, and the upper, lighter layer is formed of more recent deposits of volcanic ash. Smithsonian photo by Don Hurlbert.

Volunteering in Q?rius: Learning by Doing

As a Q?Crew teen volunteer I have not only improved my communication skills, but also in general learned about many different specimens such as orangutans, sharks, and especially rocks and minerals. There is a difference between learning about science communication at training and actually doing so with visitors....Read more
Q?Crew volunteer Connie sits at a rocks and minerals activity table in Q?rius. She uses inquiry-based learning techniques to help visitors analyze specimens. Photo by Melissa Cannon, Smithsonian.

My Favorite Specimen, the Pangolin

Pangolins are the only mammals with scales. I love showing the pangolin specimen to visitors because they often think it’s a reptile at first. It challenges everyone who looks at it to reevaluate his or her definition of a mammal. I like to use the pangolins to help Q?rius visitors make connections with other animals in the Museum....Read more
Q?Crew volunteer Ella holds a pangolin specimen in Q?rius. Photo by Melissa Cannon, Smithsonian.

Meteorites Bring News from Outer Space

Meteorites may conjure images of giant rocks smashing into towns. In fact, meteorites rarely hit people and regularly bring valuable materials to Earth from outer space. All of the iron we use on Earth today was delivered by meteorites. Gold and platinum even have meteorite origins....Read more
This meteorite piece from an ancient asteroid contains valuable crystals and metals. Smithsonian image 6474.

Do You Suffer from Cellphone Separation Anxiety?

If you feel anxious when you don't have your phone nearby, you are not alone. With some 6 billion cellphones in circulation on Earth, we depend on them for a huge range of services: texting friends, sharing selfies, ordering food, getting news, watching movies, accessing clouds, etc....Read more
Tags: mineral
Have you seen your cell phone lately? Photo by Devin Reese, Smithsonian.

How Mummies are Made

The most familiar mummies are the Egyptians, buried in elaborate tombs and surrounded with treasures to escort them into the afterlife. But, not all mummies were Egyptian, or even of the ruling class. Mummies have been found around the world, in circumstances ranging from honored leaders to unfortunate victims....Read more
Egyptian mummy and its X-ray at the National Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian image by Chip Clark.

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