by Alex Von Clausburg, OSU Student Chapter
Earlier this year, the Ohio State chapter of AIPG took a Saturday to explore the amenities of the Cincinnati area. One of these locations was a well-known cache of knowledge; the other was a secluded treasure trove of fascinating objects.
The group of roughly one dozen undergraduates left Columbus just after 8:30 in the morning. The trip down was uneventful, but full of idle chatter regarding what lay in store. Around 10:30, they arrived at the Geier Research and Collections facility in Cincinnati. It was a small, unassuming building close to the water front, lacking in extraordinary features, save for bronze mastodon statues out front. The students, however, entered at the rear, and were soon treated to a wealth of geological artifacts.
After a brief history lesson about the building, the students were shown a room filled with various mineral samples. Many samples were rare or finely cut; these were not to be touched. In the back, smaller, more general minerals were stored in small shelves. The 12 members of AIPG took great delight in rummaging through box after box of minerals. Serpentine, hematite, gypsum, calcite, and many others were held, examined, and shown off. Truly, only geology students could spend 20 minutes happily looking through boxes of rocks. Yet the mineral room was nothing but a prelude to the wonders of the next room.
Two of the mineral samples found at the Geier Collection
Upon entering the Invertebrate and Vertebrate Fossil Collection, the students were greeted by an actual dinosaur skeleton, still being put together. It was enormous, 20-30 feet in length. Thrilled, the eager young geology fans circled the beast, snapping pictures on their mobile phones while half listening to the tour guide talk about its excavation.
Fascinating as the incomplete dinosaur was, there was more to explore. The fossil enthusiasts in the group found no end of joy exploring the invertebrate collections. Some even helped identify various genera of trilobites and ammonites. From there, the guide displayed brachiopods, mollusks, fish, reptiles, and mammals. After the tour of the room, the students were free to do a bit of exploring on their own. In their exploring, they failed to notice the guide’s subtle cues that the tour had ended, and were firmly (but politely) shepherded from the building.
A few of the fossils seen during the trip. A partially reconstructed dinosaur (left), and a devonian fish (right)
From there, OSU’s AIPG members took a short trip to a far more crowded venue: the Cincinnati Museum Center. They ate a brief lunch, then dispersed to explore the Museum of Natural History and Science. It was a sizable section of the building, taking nearly four hours for the group to finally come back together. The museum was a march through time; having exhibits regarding earth’s formation, the birth of life, the rise of land animals, Ohio’s climate during the last ice age, and modern paleontological methods.
One of the highlights was an artificial cave, built into the basement of the facility. It demonstrated various rock formations to museum goers, who gaped in fascination at the wonders within (the geology students, however, weren’t particularly impressed). There was also a large “glacier” one could enter; exiting the other side showed a view of how Ohio looked during the last ice age. There was ancient flora and fauna, as well as interactive displays.
By the end of the exhibit, the group was tired and ready to go home. They left around 5:00 that evening to return home, but not before stopping off for some much deserved ice cream, conveniently purchased near the museum’s exit.