One of the largest geological collections in the world
Geological research museum is one of the lagerst natural-science museums in the World. The museum was established in 1882 after the organization of the Russian Geological Committee, and functioned as its research and storage center to 1930. In May 1930 the exposition acquired the status of State museum and it was opened to public audience.
Museum is located at the second floor of the State Reological Research University. Its halls contain thousands of fossils, rocks and gems – a veritable treasure chest of geological works. The precious and semiprecious stones, displayed in the exposition, amaze visitors : sparkling amethyst crystals (one from the Altai mountains and it is 1.5m long); huge chunks of malachite from the Urals;a gorgeous gypsum ‘rose’ from Astrakhan. Prehistoric rocks and fossils, dinosaur fragments, animal skulls and mammoth tusks are the part of the expositon. The centrepiece of the museum is a huge map of the Soviet Union made entirely of precious gems. The winner of the Paris World Exposition Grand Prix in 1937, this 26.6-sq-metre, 3.2-tonne mosaic took more than 700 people to create, combining amethysts, diamonds, granite, rubies and other gems from 500 different places in the USSR. This masterpiece was on display in St George’s Hall in the Hermitage for 34 years. There’s a similarly constructed hammer and sickle nearby.
The Museum contains exhibits of more than 80.000 various specimens of minerals, rocks, fossil fauna and flora. Its total stocks exceed a million items. The Museum acquaints visitors with the geological structure of the territory of the ex-Soviet Union and its mineral wealth.