Monday, 25 January 2016, 4 pm

Methods of mineralogy – Polarisation microscopy

On 25 January 2016, Mineralogen AG – terra mineralia’s youth club – meets for the first time in the new year. The young researchers will be in the Institute of Mineralogy, working on a quite unique device – the polarising microscope. A polarising microscope is used for the study of crystals or minerals. The way it works is based on the differing refraction of light by minerals. Beneath the microscope’s light filters, various colours are thus produced which can be observed, assessed and measured.

In the Werner building, our young researchers will use a granite rock to learn how this kind of microscope works, and what minerals or groups of minerals the stone is made of. But is that really everything or are there even more minerals still hidden in this rock? How can you make them visible and distinguish them from one another? Our budding mineralogists will dive deep into the theory of rocks, discovering the beauty of near-invisible minerals as they do.

The Mineralogen AG meets at the terra mineralia ticket office at 4 pm in Freudenstein Castle. For more information, please contact the Information Desk on 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. The participation fee is €2 per child, free with the annual pass.

Monday, 29 February 2016, 4 pm

Saxony’s hell: The Tharandt Forest

On Monday 29 February 2016 from 4pm, terra mineralia’s “Mineralogen AG” youth club will be turning its attention to a fascinating geological region just outside the gates of Freiberg. Our focus will be on the Tharandt Forest and how it came into existence.

How is it that geologists find all kinds of rock in the Tharandt Forest? They’re witness to a time long past. The woods, so idyllic today with their footpaths, nature trails and spas, weren’t always so calm. Nature has shaped the Tharandt Forest area fundamentally and left the traces behind.

It all began with a volcanic explosion around 320 million years ago. Fire, ashes and lava shaped the emergence of the area. Then, over the course of millions of years, a huge sea flooded the landmass. Sponges, mussels and ammonites bear witness to this, their remains still to be found today. Around 400,000 years ago, the Ice Age commenced and the eternal ice froze everything still. It was at this time that the glaciers stretched to their farthest extent in northern Europe.

At the Mineralogen AG meeting, the young people will learn about the destructive power of nature, casting a glance over the physical history of our region. They’ll also learn how geologists are able to reconstruct these fundamental changes with the help of rocks and minerals.

Mineralogen AG members meet at the terra mineralia ticket office in Freudenstein Castle. For more information, please contact the Info Desk on 03731 394654 or at fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Sessions cost €2 per child, free with an annual pass.

Monday, 21 March 2016, 4 pm

The way of the sand

On Monday 21 March 2016, Mineralogen AG students will be following the journey of sand at terra mineralia from 4pm.

Even huge mountains disintegrate over millions of years into sand and dust. But why? What role do weather, plants, animals and even people play in the disintegration of rocks? And just what lies behind that word “erosion”? What minerals is sand made of? What rocks are formed of it? How do you tell from a sedimentary rock how its grains of sand were once transported? Were they swept over dunes? Were they planed off by gigantic glaciers, or perhaps washed from them during a flood? Along with all of these questions, Mineralogen AG students will also be able to take a look under the magnifying glass at our comprehensive collection of sand samples from across the globe.

Mineralogen AG attendees meet at the terra mineralia Ticket Office in Freudenstein Castle. More information is available from the Information Desk on 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Sessions cost €3 per student, free with the annual pass.

Monday, 25 April 2016, 4 pm

Hot, hotter, igneous melts

On Monday 25 April from 4pm it’ll be getting hot at Mineralogen AG. “Feldspar, mica, quartz - are always in my thoughts.” There’s more than just the rock “granite” behind this mnemonic. How is it that these three minerals form the one rock? Why do they crop up together so frequently? The reason lies in molten magma!

In geology, magma is a liquid mass of melted rock. According to the kind of magma, temperatures can reach 700° to 1250°C. But the minerals are first produced when the magma cools. They either sink down due to gravity or rise upwards due to their lower density. This “magmatic differentiation” – the separation of different minerals – gives rise to the diversity of our magmatic rocks. In order to show students how this separation occurs, we’ll be doing cooking at this session of Mineralogen AG. And it’s “Zanzarelli” on the menu, a medieval soup made of broth, breadcrumbs, cheese and eggs. This will allow us to see clearly how the ingredients we mixed beforehand separate again during cooking just like minerals.

But what’s the point of knowing about these kinds of processes within our Earth? If you know at which phase ore is formed, you can find deposits faster. You can also explain what it looks like, or used to look like, several miles beneath our feet – even though you can’t see inside the Earth. Even the movements of our continents and their collisions can be better understood in this way.

The Mineralogen AG meet at the terra mineralia ticket office in Freudenstein Castle. For more information, please contact the Information Desk on 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Sessions cost €3 per child, free with the annual pass.

Pahoehoe Lava, Kilauea, Hawaii 2003, Photo: Hawaii Volcano Obervatory.

Monday, 30 May 2016, 4 pm

Related rocks – Metamorphites

Pressure. Temperature. Time. These three things are all you need for rock transformation. At the Mineralogen AG’s next meeting at terra mineralia on Monday, 30 May at 4pm, students will learn more about specific minerals and rocks that are produced by transformation or metamorphosis.

In order to induce rock transformation, ‘stress’ is needed. By ‘stress’, geologists mean general pressure exercised on rocks and minerals. But when it comes to temperature, things aren’t quite as straightforward. Because rocks don’t always behave the same since they consist of various minerals. If you heat them, some minerals change their structure, others become malleable or dissolve. And last but not least is the time factor. Here, things are as they are otherwise in geology – it’s relative! We all know the problem with cooking. If you bake a cake for half an hour at 150°C, the end result is something really tasty. If you try the same thing in half the time but at twice the temperature, you get an inedible cake, black on the outside and uncooked on the inside. It’s the same thing with rocks. How high the temperature is and how strong the pressure is both have a greater impact than how long the time is.

However, the bottom line is that beneath all this scientific talk lie beautiful rocks and minerals! For millennia, people have been making monuments out of marble. Half-timbered houses are faced with slate shingles. Polished gneiss or serpentine stone from Zöblitz are sought-after decorative items due to their unique veining. There are also metamorphic minerals such as granite that are very popular with jewellers.

Mineralogen AG participants meet at the terra mineralia ticket office in Schloss Freudenstein. For more information, please contact the Info Desk on 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Children pay an entry fee of €3 per child or enter for free with an annual pass.

Photo: GeoMuseum Technische Universität Clausthal, Dr. Alfred K. Schuster.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Field trip

Dear parents of mineralinos/Mineralogen AG members,

On Saturday 11 June 2016, we plan to go on our summer excursion with the children and young people from mineralinos/Mineralogen AG. This year, we’re going to the exhibition mine at Lichtenberg to look for underground minerals there.

Excursion details/schedule

9:30am Meet at the car park
  opposite the Holzernstl carpentry
  Dorfstraße 114a
  09638 Lichtenberg/Erzgebirge
9:45am Walk together to the mine
  (approx. 150 metres from the car park)
10am Group 1: (max. 10 children/young people): Mine visit
  Group 2: (max. 10 children/young people): Info and craft session on
  medieval mining in the Huthaus pit-head building
11:30am Group 1: (max. 10 children/young people): Info and craft session on
  medieval mining in the Huthaus pit-head building
  Group 2: (max. 10 children/young people): Mine visit
1pm End of trip/children and young people collected from car park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Protective jackets, hard hats and miner’s lamps are available in the mine. Your child will also need the following for visiting the mine:

  • Food and, most importantly, plenty to drink
  • Wellies, plus thick warm socks if necessary
  • Waterproof/long trousers you don’t mind getting messy
  • Warm coat
  • Small hammer and safety glasses
  • Packaging material eg old newspapers or pulp
  • Paper and pen for labelling finds
  • Bag/basket

Your child/young person may not take part in the excursion without these items.

The underground tour is led by Herr Fahndrich. He will be assisted by one of our students. While your child/young person is below ground, you’re welcome to visit the Huthaus building and the small farming museum in a barn. Please instruct your child/young person to follow their guide’s instructions exactly.

Places are limited to 20 children/young people. The trip costs €2 per child. Please register your child/young person with the terra mineralia Info Desk (03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de) by Wednesday 8 June 2016.

Glück auf!

Christina Seifert

Museum education/events

Monday, 20 June 2016, 4 pm

Describing the excursion finds

The excursion took our young mineralogists to the Lichtenberg mine in the Ore Mountains, where they went on a journey into the Trau auf Gott Erbstolln. On the trip, they found lots of beautiful, colourful fluorite and a few quartz specimens. It was hard work underground, though – wading through water and crawling over dirty slag heaps to find the best rocks. The young people experienced adventure like real geologists in the field. As soon as they hammered underground, you could see green and purple strips in the fluorites, separated by a white layer of quartz. The finds will now be carefully examined by the young people with the aid of the microscope in the Voyage of Discovery, terra mineralia’s science centre. Proper labelling is important too, of course, so the specimens can take their place in personal collections.

Mineralogen AG members can also bring other finds of their own, however. Just like Professors Werner, Mohs et al., they’ll classify and arrange the minerals by their characteristics. This way, each of them can find out what treasures they already own!

The young mineralogists meet at the terra mineralia ticket office in Freudenstein Castle. For more information, please contact the Information Desk on 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Sessions cost €3, free with an annual card.

Monday, 29 August 2016, 4 pm

The modern dowsing rod: Geophysical explorations

Hundreds of years ago, miners used to set out with divining rods in search of new seams of ore. And today? At the first meeting of the Mineralogen AG after the summer holidays, students will learn what methods geophysicists use to identify new deposits.

It was even easier thousands of years ago! You walked through the landscape and collected everything you could find. They say that the Egyptians found a heavy lump of metal in the desert and melted it down. They saw that this metal was better than their bronze weapons. Today we suspect that the lump may even have been a genuine meteorite. In any case, you couldn’t make everything from the precious – and most of all rare – meteoric iron; you had to find ‘earthly’ deposits.

Today we have satellites orbiting the earth, and large probes with a variety of sensors can be flown by drone or helicopter over regions to prospect them. Geologists and geophysicists can even tell us something about the ground beneath our feet using artificially produced vibrations and electricity, without having to dig even the tiniest hole. With the help of simple experiments, students at Mineralogen AG will get to know more about these methods.

The young mineralogists in the project group meet at the terra mineralia ticket office in Freudenstein Castle. For more information, please contact the Information Desk on 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Sessions are €3 per child, free with an annual pass.

Geophysical exploration, Photo: TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Public Relations Department.

Monday, 26 September 2016, 4 pm

Carbon in minerals

Carbon is the building block of life. Whether it’s people, animals or plants – without it, life as we know it wouldn’t be possible. Carbon’s role in minerals such as calcite, malachite or diamond is what Mineralogen AG students will be learning about at their meeting on Monday, 26 September from 4pm.

Due to its chemical properties, carbon appears in a number of forms. In its pure – or native – form, it occurs as the minerals graphite or diamond. Both play an important role in our industrialised world. When bonded with other elements, it forms carbonates. These include for example green malachite or blue azurite as well as the white minerals calcite and dolomite.

As long ago as the ancient Egyptians and Romans, people knew how to use the carbon-containing minerals and rocks. They used chalk – which is made principally of the carbonates calcite and aragonite – to build the pyramids. The Romans used a mixture of sand, gravel and chalk to produce concrete. And in the 21st century, people drill and dig through millions of years of geological history in the quest for oil, gas and coal.

But what exactly do you need to produce minerals, rocks, and even life from the element carbon? That’s what attendees of Mineralogen AG will learn in terra mineralia. The young people will meet at the terra mineralia ticket office in Freudenstein Castle. For more information, please contact the Info Desk: 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Sessions cost €3 per child, free with an annual pass.

Monday, 24 October 2016, 4 pm

Indium and germanium – Freiberg elements

Fire, earth, water, air – that is how it all began. Since Plato named these four elements (which, according to his theory, are the smallest building blocks of all existence), a lot has happened. In the meantime, 118 elements are known and it cannot be ruled out that there will be more. The students of Mineralogen AG will learn more about the two elements, which were discovered by us at the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg on Monday, 24 October at 16:00.

In the mineral sphalerite, a zinc blende, the chemists Ferdinand Reich and Theodor Richter found the element indium in 1863. More than 20 years later, Clemens Winkler could establish the presence of the element germanium in the silver mineral argyrodite, which was also described for the first time in Freiberg. Both elements were discovered in minerals from the Freiberg area.

Today, these elements have great economic importance: without indium, touch screens or flat screen monitors would not exist. Germanium is used in semiconductor technology, fibre-optic cables, and also in the manufacturing of night vision devices. As the technical developments become increasingly sophisticated, the implementation possibilities of both elements increase and, therefore, also the world market price.

Participants of the Mineralogen AG in the Terra Mineralia will learn about which minerals you have to collect in order to supplement your pocket money, and how to extract indium or germanium from the minerals. The students will meet at terra mineralia’s ticket office in the Freudenstein Castle. Additional information can be obtained from the information desk 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Participation fee is 3 euros per child and is free for annual card-holders.

Monday, 28 November 2016, 4 pm

Rare earth elements

As they travel through the periodic table of elements, members of the Mineralogen AG will come to the rare earth elements on Monday 28 November from 4pm. Everybody knows about them; we’ve all heard about them. But what exactly is it that makes this group of 17 metals so special? What do we need them for, and are they really so rare after all?

They often have evocative names like promethium, named after one of the titans, or praseodymium, which translates as green twin. In small amounts, these elements are present in several minerals.

Their potential is great: rare earth elements are primarily required for electronic devices. It would be practically impossible to produce ‘green electricity’ without these elements, because they’re used for example in wind farms. Nevertheless, their extraction and production is at times anything but ‘green’.

At this Mineralogen AG meeting, young people will be introduced to a group of elements that may be nondescript but which nevertheless play a hugely important role in our modern era. The students will meet at terra mineralia’s ticket office in the Freudenstein Castle. Additional information can be obtained from the information desk 03731 394654 or fuehrungen@terra-mineralia.de. Participation fee is 3 euros per child and is free for annual card-holders.