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UMaine receives donation of 70 gemstones for geology department

On April 7, an anonymous donor gifted the University of Maine a gift that will further the observation of gemstones in the community. Over 70 minerals and gemstones were donated to the UMaine school of earth climate and sciences. The stones came from an anonymous donor, and the gemstones will be used for purposes of teaching, research and public education.

The new specimens include giant zeolite geodes from India, agate from Brazil, vanadinite from Morocco, sulfur from Italy and petrified wood with amethyst inclusions from Arizona. The donation also includes samples and carvings of tourmaline that were mined in Maine.

UMaine’s Alice Kelley has headed the process of receiving the gemstones. 

I have been associated with the School of Earth and Climate Sciences since 1984. Currently, I teach introductory geology and environmental geology courses, and am the Golden Undergraduate Coordinator for our school,” Kelley shared on the school of earth and climate sciences website.

She has research interests in geoarchaeology, specifically how the human species deals with natural landscapes and environmental challenges.  Kelley has conducted several studies on post-glacial development in a major river valley in Maine, according to the school of earth and climate sciences website.

In an interview with UMaine News, Director of the School of Earth and Climate Sciences Scott Johnston shared how impactful this donation was to the department. Johnston feels that the gemstones will inspire future students. 

“When I was an undergraduate student trying to decide on a major, the magnificent minerals collection in the geology department at my university magnified my interest in the major. We believe that this wonderful gift will have the same impact on visiting high school students and on UMaine undergraduate students who are choosing what to focus on in college and their careers,” Johnston said to UMaine News. 

Former member of the Geology Club and third-year business management student, Ben Parks, commented on the impact that the donation will have on the student community.

“I think this will be a great opportunity for students to get more invested in geology,” Parks said. “I have always had a small interest in gemstones and minerals, and I think that these donations will help spark more student’s interest in minerals as well. I know the Geology Club will definitely benefit from the donations as well, as it will help educate people in the community, and possibly incline more people to join. I hope that students and members of the community alike, will try to take advantage of this opportunity. The world and the environment around it is something worth investigating and preserving.” 

This donation is sure to help engage the UMaine community and inspire future generations of geologists. The specimens from all over the world will hopefully garner more research toward finding the specific conditions for how these gemstones form, furthering the investigation of environmental climate change. 

Those looking to view the new gemstone additions will be able to find them displayed on the first and second floors of the Bryand Global Sciences Center, where the public and visiting school groups may view them. Those interested in learning more should contact the Dean’s Office to connect with Erin Miller.


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