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T H E G E O D E I N T H E H E A RT O F C LU J : THE MUSEUM OF M I N E R A L O GY O F T H E B A B E Ĺž - B O LYA I UNIVERSITY Text: Dana POP (Curator, Museum of Mineralogy) Photos: Ferenc FORRAY (Lecturer, Department of Mineralogy)

This brochure has been published on the occasion of the anniversary of 90 years from the foundation of the Romanian University in Cluj

Cluj-Napoca, 2009

U N I V E R S I TAT E A B A B E Ş - B O LYA I “…I walked all the way through the park over to the Museum of Natural History. […] It always smelled like it was raining outside, even if it wasn’t, and you were in the only nice, dry, cosy place in the world. I loved that damn museum.” (J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye) WELCOME A geode is a natural formation, conceptually standing in the same way as Natural History museums in general, at the interface between science and general public awareness. Geologically, a geode represents a roughly spheroidal or ovoidal hollow body within a rock that was subsequently and successively filled by various minerals. In most cases, minerals occur as well-defined, distinctive (“idiomorphic”) crystals oriented towards the centre of the geode. The inner cavity may remain empty; however, if mineral matter fills the whole geode it is called a “nodule”. The external walls of a geode are often lined by concentric layers of various colours, usually consisting of the most widespread mineral in the Earth’s crust, i.e. quartz, as the microcrystalline variety – chalcedony. Complex processes leading to geode formation are distinct and represent time capsules that accrue a complicated geological history over sometimes hundreds of millions of years. For mineral collectors, the aesthetics of geodes bears a unique fascination, conferring on them a special status. The hollow space provides optimal crystallization conditions, leading to the formation of some of the most perfect, large and transparent crystals in the mineral world. More than that, a geode looks like a mysterious and primitive universe in miniature, a possible idealized model of our planet. The name in Latin translates as “of the shape of the Earth”. A geode represents a window to lost worlds and times, a protected nest inside which it seems it never rains… GEODES Most geodes are several centimetres in size although there are famous exceptions. In Ohio, USA, such a cavity discovered in 1897 is 10 m in diameter. It was considered to be the largest known geode in the world and was converted into its own natural museum – The Crystal Cave. Similar sizes (10 m in length, 5 m in width and 3 m in depth; weighing 32 t) have been recorded of some of the most well known geodes that have been found in basalts in Brazil with an inside lining of amethyst


THE MUSEUM OF MINERALOGY crystals (violet quartz), sometimes covered by white calcite, and an external crust of green clay (celadonite). Occasionally between the amethyst and the green crust there are layers of greyish-bluish chalcedony. The most famous mineral specimens on display in the big museums and private collections worldwide usually consist of planar fragments (“druses”) of the walls of such large geodes. These have been discovered on the surface, but in most cases in underground mines. In Romania, this type of mineral aggregate is poetically called a “mine flower”. Even if, genetically, druses belong to the same category as geodes, the quasi-parallel orientation of the crystals in this case is not reminiscent of the peculiar spheroidal morphology of the originary geode. The Museum of Mineralogy is one of the most spectacular and popular among the seven academic museums of the Babeş-Bolyai University. As a whole, the museum space, filled-up with mineral specimens, can be imagined as a huge geode where time seems to have reverted to the geological scale. Let’s discover together the successive “layers” that compose this most hospitable geode that is the Museum of Mineralogy, located right in the heart of Cluj-Napoca. If you’ve not already visited us, we hope that this presentation as well as the pictures of some spectacular geodes and druses in our museum will challenge you to become our guests, soon. Both the shine of the subterranean adornments and the warmth of the hosts’ heart will gladly welcome you! BRIEF MINERALOGICAL HISTORY In Cluj, the beginnings of the mineralogy collection, as well as those of paleontology, zoology and botany are related to the Transylvanian Museum (Erdélyi Múzeum) that was founded in 1859. After the establishment of the Franz Josef University (1872), these collections supported teaching in the Faculty of Sciences; in particular, the mineralogy collection had played an important role in the foundation of a Department of Mineralogy under the leadership of the renowned professor J. Szádeczky. In 1900, parts of these collections, including the minerals, were transferred to the newly-built Central Building of the University (currently located on M. Kogălniceanu St., No. 1). The Museum of Mineralogy of the Babeş-Bolyai University, now part of the Department of Mineralogy of the Faculty of Biology and Geology, turned into an academic, non-independent collection in1919, when the Romanian University “Regele Ferdinand” was founded in Cluj. The new Department and Institute of Mineralogy-Petrography were organised by the internationally-acknowledged scientist Gh. Munteanu-Murgoci, supported by the eminent Professor Victor Stanciu. Prof. Eugen Stoicovici and Prof. Valeriu Lucca were other famous teachers and researchers that have contributed to the mineralogical teaching collections. Through these continuous efforts, the original collection has been continuously en-


U N I V E R S I TAT E A B A B E Ş - B O LYA I riched and diversified. Currently, the collections contain more than 16,500 specimens. Permanent collaboration between the museum and the Department of Mineralogy represented an invaluable opportunity for acquiring samples of high scientific value accompanied by detailed documentation. At the beginning, no specialized staff in museum curation existed. Usually young academic staff members undertook the responsibilities related to the “Didactic collection of minerals and rocks” for relatively short periods of time (Veturia Lucca 1924-1925, Gheorghe Pop 1940-1941, Vasile Crăciun 1941-1943. In 1965, the position of geologist/museum curator was instigated for the Museum of Mineralogy. Later (1975) it became that of museologist. From that point on, the teaching collections were systematically inventoried and re-organized, being transformed into a museum proper. The enthusiastic person that undertook these changes until her retirement in 1989 was Iulia Ţârlea-Hoţiu. In 2002, at the initiative of the Rector of the Babeş-Bolyai University, the Museum of Mineralogy opened to the public. From that moment on, in parallel with a gradual increase of the number of visitors (currently more than 700 annually, of which about 85 % are organized groups of pupils and students), the museum was committed to playing an active educational, formative and cultural role in the life of the institution and of the city in the heart of which it is located. THE MAIN COLLECTIONS At present, the museum houses more than 16,500 samples (about 12,500 minerals, more than 3700 cut gems and 200 meteorites) grouped into several collections, according to systematic, geographic and thematic criteria. The permanent exhibits are on display in the two galleries of the museum; additionally, the Crystallography Collection occupies some of the showcases along the hall of the Department of Mineralogy. About 8000 specimens (59 showcases) are on display in the museum area (126 m2). Among the highlights of the museum are: The only meteorite collection in Romania A valuable gold collection, the third in the country in number of samples and mineralogical diversity Cut gem collection (precious stones and gemstones), among the largest and most diverse in Romania The largest number of mineral species in a systematic display in a Romanian museum A great variety of mineralogically significant localities from Romania and from all over the world is represented in the collections.


THE MUSEUM OF MINERALOGY The systematic collection of minerals The first gallery of the museum houses almost 10,000 specimens of which about 4,500 are displayed. The 36 showcases show species of the 9 mineral classes following the widely recognized European system of the German mineralogist H. Strunz. The collection illustrates more than 700 distinctive mineral species (about 850 entries, including varieties) collected from Romania or from abroad, from a wide range of significant geological occurrences; these attributes qualify it as the richest scientific mineralogical collection in Romania. Additionally, several representative synthetic materials complete the diversity spectrum. An important gold collection (450 specimens), the third in the country according to size and variety after the Gold Museum in Brad and the collection of the Natural History Museum of the Brukenthal National Museum in Sibiu, is part of the systematic display. The gold collection from Cluj is dominated by samples from Roşia Montană, a famous mining locality in the “Gold Quadrangle” of the Apuseni Mountains, which has produced gold for more than 2000 years. 35 new mineral species (from a current number of about 4,400) have been described for the first time in the literature from Romanian localities. The systematic collection includes 18 of them, some being very rare: native tellurium, gold and silver tellurides (hessite, sylvanite, nagyágite, krennerite, and petzite), fizelyite, fülöppite, semseyite, andorite, and tellurite. Other rare samples of borates, phosphates and silicates contribute to the scientific value of this collection. Minerals from Romania This is a regional collection, about 1,500 samples, from the main mining centres in Baia Mare area, Banat, and Apuseni Mountains. These localities are well-known to mineral curators and collectors worldwide due to the impressive number of spectacular well-crystallized specimens (“mine flowers”) they have provided during centuries of mining activities. Some representative scientific publications on the mineralogy of Europe and of the world have focused on species and mineral assemblages collected from these occurrences. With minerals from the Maramureş area, our collection represents a first encounter and an invitation for getting more familiar with the mineral potential of the area by visiting the complete and impressive collection of the Museum of Mineralogy in Baia Mare.


U N I V E R S I TAT E A B A B E Ş - B O LYA I The Romanian gem collection Illustrating the great natural gemmological potential of Romania are 33 varieties of minerals and rocks from 98 localities. Some are raw gemstones and others cut into more than 3,500 cabochons. The main gem material in Romania is represented by varieties of quartz including chalcedony and opal. The collection is valuable due to its richness and completeness. On a European scale, the most well-known Romanian gemstones are the blue chalcedony from Trestia (Maramureş County) used since antiquity for cutting cameos, and amber , “the tear of the Gods”, in its variety called “romanite” from Colţi (Buzău County). The gem collection (precious stones and gemstones) This comprises 250 cut stones or cabochons of diamond, beryl varieties (emerald, aquamarine), corundum (ruby, sapphire), tourmaline, topaz, zircon, turquoise, garnets, quartz (amethysts, citrine, chalcedony etc.), opal (precious opal, fire opal) and others. In Romania, this collection is one of the largest and most diverse gem exhibits of international relevance. The meteorite collection This is the largest one in Romania and, due to its variety, the only systematic collection of its type in the country. The collection consists of more than 200 specimens of stony, stony-iron and iron meteorites, as well as tektites and pseudometeorites from all over the world. The core of the collection is represented by over 60 fragments of the Mocs stony meteorite that fell in 1882 in the surroundings of Mociu commune (Cluj County). The largest fragment of this fall is housed in our collection; it is 35.7 kg in weight (35 x 25 x 28 cm). Recently, donations of several private collectors from Romania and from abroad have enriched and diversified the collection with northwest Africa specimens. This “hot desert” has produced in the last three decades large amounts of such extra-terrestrial materials of high scientific value. Meteorites are among the only tangible witnesses of the pre-geological evolution of the Solar System and of the Earth. For those who are already familiar with the museum, a reason for a new visit could be the exhibit of the New Acquisitions, periodically updated in the second gallery of the museum.


THE MUSEUM OF MINERALOGY TEMPORARY EXHIBITS The first temporary exhibits (1996-2003) of the Museum of Mineralogy were connected to a novel event in Romania generated in Cluj, i.e. the first editions of the Minerals, Fossils and Gems Show organized by the Association of Amateur Mineralogists, Paleontologists and Gemologists of Romania (A.M.P.G.A.R.) due to the enthusiastic initiative and the direct co-ordination of Prof. Virgil Ghiurcă. The A.M.P.G.A.R. Shows have become the ideal framework for gathering together museum personnel and mineral fans with the goal of a better understanding of minerals, of their role in natural systems and in the life of mankind. Among the topics of these exhibits one can mention: Ornamental minerals and rocks (1996); Minerals from the Eastern Carpathians (1997); Minerals from Canada (1997); Gems (1998); Living minerals (1999); The shape of crystals (2000); Minerals from Brazil (2000); New acquisitions in the Museum of Mineralogy – 1996–2001 (2001); Personal exhibit Prof. Valeriu Lucca (2001, in collaboration with Prof. Ioan Mârza); Salt - a daily miracle (2002) and Diamonds, “diamonds” and… «“diamonds”» (2003). Several temporary exhibits have been set-up in collaboration with other museums from Romania, especially with the National Museum of the History of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca: Gem minerals and cut gems (1996); Metallurgy in the Pre- and Protohistory of Romania (1996); Silver processing during the Dacian times (2002). The Museum of Mineralogy was also a contributor to several temporary exhibits organised by other Romanian museums: The gold of Transylvania (Museum of Mineralogy, Baia Mare: 2003-2004), gems exhibitions (Mureş County Museum and Museum Complex Arad). Recently, inside the main museum, space has been dedicated exclusively to temporary thematic exhibits. The most recent such exhibits concerned: Twin crystals (2002), Minerals and human health (2003), Museum as a place for preserving the results of the mineralogical research of the Department of Mineralogy (2004). Starting with 2008, the Museum of Mineralogy has become an official partner of the “The European Night of Museums”, a cultural event on a continental scale that provides better opportunities for getting familiar with museums. In this framework, on May 17, 2008 the temporary exhibition “Our daily minerals” was opened. We hope that our involvement in this European joint effort becomes a tradition, and we invite all of you to suggest to us topics for new exhibits and related educational activities that you would find interesting.


U N I V E R S I TAT E A B A B E Ĺž - B O LYA I MUSEUM ACTIVITIES In spite of limited space and staff, the Museum of Mineralogy has been constantly promoting various activities that cover all types of museum functions: scientific, educational and cultural. As far as scientific research is concerned, the museum represents a unique source for documenting theoretical and applied comparative studies: museum samples are undergoing specific investigations for several national research projects (study of Romanian gold related to gold items provenance, investigation of Romanian meteorites, characterisation of Romanian minerals of special significance by using modern analytical methods) or as independent research topics, in collaboration with the Department of Mineralogy of the BabeĹ&#x;-Bolyai University. Additionally, the museum collaborates with similar institutions and mineral collectors from Romania and abroad (Hungary, Austria, Great Britain, Canada, Brazil, Australia etc.) concerning exchanges of rare mineral samples that contribute to the enrichment, diversification and scientific value of the existing collections. At the same time, the museum staff are involved in national and international research and educational projects, as well as in the organisation of mineralogical meetings at national and international level. All these aspects contribute to an increased awareness and acknowledgement of the Museum of Mineralogy worldwide. Educational activities, especially focused on the young (pupils, students) are our priority and the reason for the existence of our museum. For this purpose educational projects have been designed, particularly for different age groups and learning interests. Systematically, and already in a traditional way, the museum is visited by students of various faculties within the BabeĹ&#x;-Bolyai University. Besides geology students, for whom the museum is a starting and a recurrent place for study and research, students from the faculties of Environmental Science, Geography, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Physics, Mathematics and Informatics, History and Philosophy have been guests of our museum. Moreover, students from other universities in ClujNapoca, such as the Technical University, the University for Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine and the University of Arts and Design visit the collections each year, many of them finding here subjects for further studies, or artistic inspiration. For each target group, there are specially-designed guided tours. Interested students may become involved in voluntary museum activities that support their professional development in an informal, extra-curricular framework. However, the largest number of visitors since the official opening of the


THE MUSEUM OF MINERALOGY museum to the public (in 2002) is represented by pupils from the secondary and primary schools in Cluj and its surroundings. For this main sector of visitors, several specific educational projects have been designed. These are intended to transform museum visits into interactive and dynamic events leading to increasing interest of young people in minerals and rocks, and for natural sciences in general. Also, in parallel with a deeper understanding of the scientific content on behalf of the pupils, the teachers are supported with worksheets, etc. for the museum activity. Among these projects are: Thematic visits, according to the curriculum requirements; “Treasure search” (10-14 years old); Quiz-test (14-18 years old); “Top-10” of the museum samples (14-18 years old); Case studies (14-18 years old); True or false in the minerals, gems and rocks world (14-18 years old); Debates on various topics (e.g. “Natural resources: a threat or a blessing?”, 14-18 years old); Trends in mineralogical research & development (14-18 years old and students). Details on these educational projects are included on the museum’s homepage; you could also use the contact data for suggestions and planning of future museum activities: At the same time, the Museum of Mineralogy is part of the cultural heritage of Cluj-Napoca, due to its scientific value at regional and national scale. The museum is open to all categories of visitors to the town. HOW TO BECOME PART OF THE MUSEUM’S HISTORY In spite of limited financial resources, the Museum of Mineralogy has increased its collection year by year through collecting campaigns in the field, donations, exchanges, or revision of old, unregistered material. In this respect, the museum benefits from the expertise of the academic staff of the Department of Mineralogy, of colleagues from other museums and universities from Romania or from abroad, as well as of amateur mineral collectors. One of the main accessioning procedures is by the acceptance of donations of minerals or specialised documents. The owners of items that have museum value who decide to donate them are awarded a “Donor diploma”, while their name is recorded in the museum’s catalogue together with that of the specimen. Given the museum’s reputation and legacy, the donation itself becomes part of the history of this institution.


U N I V E R S I TAT E A B A B E Ş - B O LYA I PRACTICAL CO-ORDINATES The Museum of Mineralogy, “the geode in the heart of Cluj” is located in the Main building of the Babeş-Bolyai University (1, M. Kogălniceanu St.), close to the central square (Piaţa Unirii). The access is through the main entrance to the building, then left from the ground floor main hall (via the entrance to the Department of Mineralogy). Open: Tuesday–Friday, 11.00–14.00 Guided tours (in English) for groups (minimum six persons) may be scheduled, also at other times based on prior booking by phone: +40 264 405300 ext. 5121 or by email: dana.pop@ The museum may be occasionally closed to the public (in August and for shorter times at other periods). To avoid any inconvenience planning your visit in advance is strongly recommended! Contact data: Curator: Dr. Dana Pop Museum of Mineralogy, Babeş-Bolyai University 1, M. Kogălniceanu St., Cluj-Napoca, Romania Tel: +40 264 405300 ext. 5121 Fax: +40 264 591906 E-mail: dana.pop@


THE MUSEUM OF MINERALOGY Glossary of geode-related terms: Amygdule: a small (mm–cm) void - originally a gas bubble - in igneous, especially volcanic rocks (basalts) completely filled with secondary minerals such as zeolite, calcite, or quartz. Concretion: a rounded (spherical or ellipsoidal) mass (mm–m), as a rule consisting of microcrystalline mineral matter with granular - concentric or radial – structure resulted by precipitation and cementation in the pore spaces of the sediment, usually around a fossil or fossil fragment acting as a nucleus. Most typical host rocks are: sedimentary, volcanic tuffs. Druse: a divergent or parallel aggregate of crystals on a rock base; can be regarded as a planar fragment of a geode. Enhydros: a variety of chalcedony (microcrystalline quartz) nodule containing fluid inclusions (water). Floater or “loner”: a loose crystal with no point of attachment to the substrate presumably formed in an empty space in the host rock. Geode: a general term for hollow, usually spheroidal geological formations occurring in sedimentary and certain volcanic rocks. Essentially they are rock cavities or vugs fully or partly filled with well-defined individual crystals and/or microcrystalline concentric bands lining the inside wall. Lithophysa or “Thunder egg”: rough spheres (cm–m), nodule-like structure formed within rhyolitic lava flows (or rarely obsidian, volcanic tuff). The outer surface consists of an irregular crust, while inwards individual mineral bandings (mostly silica varieties like quartz, common chalcedony or agate, or opal) reveal intricate patterns and colours, as a rule star-shaped. Miarole: small (mm–cm) interior bodies within igneous rocks, in general with angular outlines, only partly filled with secondary minerals; these crystal-linen may show internal zonal and centripetal disposition inwards. Miarolitic structures probably represent local concentration of gases during very late stages in consolidation of the host rocks.


U N I V E R S I TAT E A B A B E Ş - B O LYA I Nodule: a small (cm–m), rounded or elongated lump of a mineral or mixture of minerals in general lacking internal structure, usually having a knobby irregular surface and being harder than the surrounding rock or sediment (in general limestones), from which thus they may be easily separated. Nodules may be oriented parallel to the bedding, when concentrated in individual beds, or aleatory distributed within the host rock. Septarian concretion or septarian nodule: a spheroidal, calcareous- or clayeyrich concretion containing angular cavities or cracks, which are called “septaria”. The word comes from the Latin word septum=”partition”, and refers to the internal irregular polygonal cracks/separations usually filled with calcite or quartz, resulting in a polychromatic material. Vug (from the Cornish: ”vooga” = cave): a small (cm) irregular cavity of tectonic origin, or resulted by the removal of material such as soluble minerals, often showing centripetal or zonal linings of „exotic” minerals, i.e. of different composition from that of the surrounding rock (the latter most often represented by dolomites, limestones, marbles).



Druse with sulphur. Girgenti, Italy (MMBBU#25/21)

Thunder egg of amethyst and chalcedony (var. of quartz). Mt. Hay, Australia (MMBBU#480/239)

Concretion of marcasite. Illinois, USA (MMBBU#227/23)

Geode with amethyst and chalcedony (var. of quartz). Unknown locality (MMBBU#210/4)

Vug with agate (var. of quartz). Răchişel, Romania (MMBBU#480/183)

Thunder egg of agate (var. of quartz). Căpuş, Romania (MMBBU#480/246)

Vug with malachite crystals. Betzdorf, Germany (MMBBU#688/24)

Geode with celestine. Bristol, UK (MMBBU#864/11)

Vug with aragonite and malachite. Schwaz, Austria (MMBBU#675/42)

Vug with azurite. Marsberg, Germany (MMBBU#687/16)

Miaroles and amygdules of fire opal in rhyolite. Simav, Turkey (MMBBU#480/28)

Geode of agate (var. of quartz) and quartz. Oberstein, Germany (MMBBU#480/202)

Druse with chabasite on marcasite. CriĹ&#x;cior, Romania (MMBBU#1964/2)

Geode of onyx (var. of quartz) and quartz. Turnov, Czech Republic (MMBBU#480/201)

Vug with azurite. Moldova Nouă, Romania (MMBBU#687/6)

Enhydros of chalcedony (var. of quartz). Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (MMBBU#480/242)

Druse of amethyst. Vălişoara, Romania (MMBBU#471/79)

Amygdules of mesolite in diabase. Puy-de-D么me, France (MMBBU#1941/3)

Druse of chrysocolla. Nizhnii Tagil, Russia (MMBBU#1672/4)

Vug with malachite. L’ubietová, Slovakia (MMBBU#688/28)

Nodules of olivine and feldspars in basalt. MateiaĹ&#x;, Romania (MMBBU#1444/11)

Druse of amethyst. Ocna de Fier, Romania (MMBBU#471/130)

Vug with azurite and malachite. Bisbee, USA (MMBBU#687/21)

Geode with onyx (var. of quartz). Brad, Romania (MMBBU#480/232)

Amethyst crystal from a druse. Vălişoara, Romania (MMBBU#471/84)

Druse of halite. Ocna MureĹ&#x;, Romania (MMBBU#256/34)

Malachite crusts, fragment of a vug. Nizhnii Tagil, Russia (MMBBU#688/28)

Amygdules of opal. Čižkovice, Czech Republic (MMBBU#480/41)

Vug with calcite on goethite. Příbram, Czech Republic (MMBBU#589/5)

Geode of quartz. Illinois, USA (MMBBU#471/44)

Vug with azurite on smithsonite. Utah, USA (MMBBU#687/25)

Floater quartz crystal in carbonatic septarian concretion. Isère, France (MMBBU#471/135)

Vug with chalcedony (var. of quartz). Techereu, Romania (MMBBU#210/1050)

Thunder egg of precious, “harlequin”-type opal. Mezezo, Ethiopia (MMBBU#480/247)

mineralogie_Layout 1  

Text: Dana POP (Curator, Museum of Mineralogy) Photos: Ferenc FORRAY (Lecturer, Department of Mineralogy) This brochure has been published o...

mineralogie_Layout 1  

Text: Dana POP (Curator, Museum of Mineralogy) Photos: Ferenc FORRAY (Lecturer, Department of Mineralogy) This brochure has been published o...