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The AMNH Petrology Collection

The rock, or petrology consists of several thousand hand samples and a number of drill cores from around the world. This collection is primarily used for research and in general, samples are available for loan to researchers outside the museum. Most of the collection is concentrated in specific varieties of rock, some of which are detailed below.

Layered Mafic Intrusions


Layered mafic intrusions are large igneous bodies that are layered similarly to sedimentary rocks. Many are widely used and mined for precious metals such as chromium, platinum, palladium, and nickel, and thus are extremely important natural resources. The AMNH collection of layered mafic intrusions consists largely of samples and drill cores from the Bushveld Complex, South Africa, the Stillwater Complex, Montana and various other bodies including Skaergaard, Greenland, Noril'sk, Russia and the Great Dyke, Zimbabwe. 

Mantle Xenoliths

Mantle xenoliths are ultramafic rocks that are found in the crust of the Earth, but were formed within the Earth's mantle. This collection contains a large varied number of mantle xenoliths from localities worldwide and includes samples of basalts and kimberlites. Many samples remain unstudied. Our collection includes samples from San Carlos, Arizona, South Africa and Australia, as well as the Jagoutz Collection.



The museum's collection includes many different kinds of volcanic rocks, rocks that solidified on the surface of the earth. These include basalts, porphyry (volcanic rocks with large crystals in a fine-grained matrix), obsidian, and ash from recent eruptions. Many of the basalt samples contain mantle xenoliths. Our collection includes samples from Hawaii, Mt. Pelee, Vesuvius, Italy and Massif, France. 

Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth


The Hall of Planet Earth contains over 150 samples of varying composition and origin, including numerous large samples, each chosen to illustrate fundamental properties of the earth and how it functions. Samples are genera;;y available for study and many are available for teaching purposes.