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U of U Fossil and Mineral Collection

From Cambrianage Jellyfish to Topaz and rare Red Beryl, the state of Utah is home to a vast assortment of fossils and minerals!The University of Utah fossil and mineral collection webpage showcases some ofthismaterialwhich have been gathered by professors, graduatestudents, and locals rock-houndersfor nearly100 years!The U of U collection is housed on campus in the Fredrick Albert Sutton Building (FASB), and much of the materials may be seen mounted on walls or indisplay cases allaround the building. Quintin Sahratian, rock prep manager for the Department of Geology and Geophysics, curates these rare and wonderful specimens. Quintin has spent great deal of time maintaining and organizing these materials as they are a significant departmental resource for teaching and as a record of notedlocalities to find geological specimens. However, unless one is taking a geology class at the U or working in FASB, these wonderful specimens are somewhatinaccessible. With thisin mind, we decided to put together a website to display some of this material.The website is organized by geological formation, all of which are found here in Utah. Some of my favorite fossils in this collection are the 520-million-year old jellyfish, collected by our own Rich Jarrard and Susan Halgadahl!Carbonized jellyfish from the Cambrian-aged Marjum Formation, House Range, UT, are very rare fossils indeed. Although jellyfish have been around for hundreds of millions of years, these animals are usually very rare to find. This is because jellyfish lack hard body parts. Hard body parts like shells, teeth, and bones typically fossilize more easily than soft body parts and tissues. To fossilize a jellyfish, it must be buried in sediment quickly so that scavenging animals and bacteria do not have a chance to gobble it up.With this first version of thewebsite, which againwent live in February after a long hiatus, we hope to againshowcase moreof the rarer items in the U of U collection. These fossils and minerals, however, only scratch the surface of the drawers and drawers of fossils, minerals, and rocks in the basement of FASB. Moving forward, we hope to continue updating the website with even more images from the extensive fossil and mineralcollection, adding geologic maps and detailed rock descriptions of significant Utah formations, and uploading legacy curation notes detailing the human history which led to the U of U collection.Please enjoy perusing some of Utah’s mostbeautiful rocks and fossils! Remember that geology is all around you, some of these cool fossils can be found right here in the foothills of the Wasatch!


Last Updated: 11/16/21