What You See Here Is Out There
The earliest mission of the American Museum of Natural History was to put the world on display. Some of the best known early exhibits focused on the natural world of living things, showcasing animals and their natural habitats. The Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth also puts the world on display — the planet itself, that is. It tells Earth's dynamic, 4.5-billion-year story, in which continents drift, mountains build, oceans form, glaciers slice through rock, rivers emerge, and the chemical building blocks for life cycle through the air, oceans, crust and mantle to create our remarkable home.
The Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth poses five big questions asked by Earth scientists:
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The Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth seeks answers to these questions with evidence gathered from around the world. Expeditions to collect over 130 rocks, each of which records a chapter of the earth's ongoing story, have been underway for three years. The Hall opened in late spring, 1999.
This Web site tells the stories behind the making of the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, and how we are traveling the Earth to bring the big picture home to the Museum.
Learn how some rocks record evidence of the history of the composition of the atmosphere. Did you know that billions of years ago you wouldn't have been able to breathe?
Where has the piece of ground beneath your feet been and where is it going?
If you could interview a rock, what stories would it tell?
Have you ever wondered when the next ice age is coming, or how scientists know it's an El Niño year?
Did you know that life can exist without sunlight? Find out about new frontiers of habitability that scientists have only recently begun to explore.