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Gillespie Museum Exhibit Showcases Florida Calcite’s Beauty and Diversity

The community has an opportunity to get a sneak peek of “Florida Calcite: Rare Specimens of a Common Mineral,” the newest exhibit at the Gillespie Museum on Stetson University’s campus during Science Saturday on Saturday, Jan. 12, 10 a.m.-noon.

The exhibit runs from Feb. 21-May 3.

Calcium carbonate (CaC03) is the mineral that makes up most of the limestone formations throughout the Florida peninsula. 

Karen Cole

“Despite its common occurrence in the state, the specimens in this exhibit are rare and represent a unique opportunity to see significant formations and beautiful transformations,” explains Karen Cole, Ph.D., director of the Gillespie Museum.

The exhibit features 39 specimens collected by geologist Tom Scott, Ph.D., P.G., during his decades-long career with the Florida Geological Survey. The Science Saturday event will also introduce young scientists to the karst and limestone caves of Florida’s limestone foundations.

The display includes rare specimens of speleothems (cave-formed structures), such as stalactites, cave pearls, helictites and cave flowers from world-renowned localities, including the Crystal River Quarry in Citrus County and Rucks’ Pit in Okeechobee County. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a teaching station with a laboratory experience for testing the physical properties of calcite.

Visitors can also explore the museum’s mineral collections and earth science displays, including “Florida Formations: Shifting Seas and Sediments” and “Storied Stone” during this science showcase.

The public is invited to participate in this free, family-friendly event, which is one of the museum’s monthly Science Saturdays and welcomes scientists of all ages (children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult), connecting Stetson’s faculty and undergraduate students with the community.

Join the Gillespie Museum during its Science Café, which features Florida geologists Tom Scott, Harley Means and Sam Upchurch who will be discussing collecting and identifying calcite in Florida on Thursday, Feb. 21, with an opening reception at 6 p.m. and conversation beginning at 7 p.m.

The Gillespie Museum is located at 234 E. Michigan Ave. in DeLand. For more information, call 386.822.7330 or visit www.stetson.edu/gillespie.

Sandra Carr

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