Tuesday, January 17, 2017

UCLA Meteorite Collection Family Field Trip

Southern California is home to one of the largest meteorite collections in the West. The UCLA Meteorite Collection is located in room 3697 of the Geology Building.  This collection has been on exhibit and opened to the public since January 2014. The gallery is open weekdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.  Admission is always free.  This past weekend, we took the opportunity to visit and learn about meteorites.  Continue reading to find out what happened.....
Meteorite collection
We arrived Sunday afternoon and parked in the visitor parking section of the garage. Parking is convenient and located directly across from the Geology building. The kids were amazed that we were able to walk into the Geology building on a Sunday afternoon. As we headed to the collection, there were many questions about UCLA. Our kids are still so young that talking about college seems way to early however looking at it, it is right around the corner for us. We offered information and suggested UCLA could be a school they could attend one day. As for today, we were just exploring meteorites even though there were many more curiosities presented.
357 pound meteorite
357-pound iron chunk of an asteroid that crashed into Arizona nearly 50,000 years ago
We walked to the third floor and waited as we arrived a few minutes early. This gave us time to look around and find nearby dinosaur fossils on display. It was a fun surprise to see up close rare fossils. They are part of their teaching and research collection. To see more of  the Earth, Planetary and Space Science collection visit: http://epss.ucla.edu/teaching-research-collections/

meteorite
UCLA Meteorite Collection
Once the doors to the Meteorite Collection room opened, we met a very informative and engaging volunteer named John.  He explained to us that this was the 5th largest collection of meteorites in the nation. We could tell how proud he felt about the collection and UCLA as a school. After a short visit with John, he handed us over to Jason, the docent working this Sunday afternoon.  Jason was informative and engaging while he explained how these meteorites were over 4.5 Billion years old.  Jason painted us a picture demonstrating how space particulate is lifted into the atmosphere by other asteroid impacts in our solar system, where it then heats, combines with other particles, hardens and repeats the process in its orbit around the sun. This process continues for years until a collision knocks the meteor out of orbit with destination to one of the nearby planets or moon. Jason also showed us a martian meteorite which was amazing to imagine.  We could see the love he has for the study of Geology as he explained the collection to us.  It was a very informative and eye opening experience.
Our short visit left us with a fraction of knowledge about meteorites as there is so much more to learn and study. Such as Meteorites are divided into two main classes: primitive and differentiated.  Each little spot on these meteorites tell a story and data from that story continues to be collected, studied and reported on.  To learn more visit: http://www.meteorites.ucla.edu/faq/
UCLA Meteorite Gallery Geology Building, Room 3697,

595 Charles Young Drive East Los Angeles, CA 90095
Email: meteorites@ucla.eduPhone: 310-825-2015

Disclaimer: Not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are all my own.
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