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Mineral Collection - Faculty of Pharmacy

Description of Funds

The Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Pharmacy (UCM) has a mineral collection consisting of over five hundred copies. This collection is arranged according to “Strunz” classification system, based on chemical and structural criteria. The specimens are identified by name, chemical formula and geographical origin of the piece.

The origin of the mineral collection lies in the mid twentieth century and serves as a learning resource in the study of mineralogy. The collection shows the aesthetic beauty of minerals, often with a crystallographic arrangement, which makes it possible to perceive enough features to recognize the source of the material.

The minerals are exhibited along with explanatory signs describing for each crystallographic system the constants, the forms of crystallization and some of the minerals that crystallize in this system, giving special relevance to the most frequent type of minerals in the Iberian Peninsula. The minerals are classified by signs of different colours.

The collection includes important pieces, due either to their chemical nature or to the purity and size of the crystals. Among the first group, it highlights some topaz, tourmaline and zircon. Among the second group special mention must be made of some protruding barites, iridescent crystals and halite.

Some of the materials on this collection are interesting not only for crystallization process but also for serving as an ore to extract products of economic interest such as Rio Tinto copper, Saharan gypsum, sulfur from “La Sierra de Gado” and antimonite from  “La Alcudia Valley”

The collection is completed with a set of learning resources for crystallography. This material comprises two distinct series; the oldest, of German origin, was sold by the company Leybold and the newest was produced by the Spanish “Casa de Alvarez” manufacturer, based in Madrid. These three-dimensional models are designed to facilitate the spatial awareness of the mineral crystallization process.

Along with the learning resources, the collection also includes other minerals exhibited in display cabinets located in the access corridors to the Department of Crystallography and Mineralogy.

The History of the Collection

The date and origin of the minerals of this collection is not exactly known, but they have remained in the same display cabinets since the early 50s.

The fact that the collection is located in the premises of the Department of Soil Science (formerly Chair of Applied Geology) is due to the discipline of Applied Geology (Crystallography, Mineralogy, Hydrology) was taught in that Department from 1945 until 1993, when the modification of the programme took place.