Petrology Collection

Collections include igneous, metamorpic and sedimentary rocks. Much of the collection is concentrated in specific varieties of scientifically important rock types. Some are detailed here.

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. 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 (igneous)

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 are extremely important natural resources. This collection 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 (igneous)

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


Volcanics & Ocean Crust (igneous)

This collection includes many different kinds of rocks that solidified on the surface of the earth. These include volcanic basalts, porphyry (volcanic rocks with large crystals in a fine-grained matrix), obsidian, and ash from recent and historic eruptions including samples from Hawaii, Mt. Pelee, Vesuvius, Italy and Massif, France. The Hawai'i and Oman Ophiolite drill cores are part of this collection, as are the Clague collection of oceanic basalts and hydrothermal vents, and the Wheeler Collection of igneous and metamorphic rocks from the Labrador Coast, including the founding collection of the Kiglapait Layered Intrusion and material from the Nain Anorthosite Project, donated by Tony Morse.

Other Petrology Suites

Regional collections include historical collections from the Crocker Land expeditions (Greenland, 1916), rocks of New England (Hitchcock Collection), and from the Simplon Tunnel (Switzerland, 1921). More recent collections are from  Mexico, South Africa, Guatemala and other localities. New York State is represented by historic collections such as the Hall Collection (1875), a collection from the Cortlandt Complex, building stones, and rocks documenting the history of the Manhattan Prong, a topic of ongoing AMNH research.


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. 

The AMNH Petrology Collection is primarily used for research and in general samples are available on loan to researchers in both academia and industry.