Butterflies, Dinosaurs and "Rare Earth" Minerals

Butterflies, Dinosaurs and "Rare Earth" Minerals title=
Butterflies, Dinosaurs and "Rare Earth" Minerals
Reads 3224

By Robert Bernstein

You may know that Butterflies Alive has returned to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. But did you know there is also a Prehistoric Forest and a "Rare Earth" mineral exhibit?

Here are all of my photos from our recent visit!

This giant Blue Morpho butterfly is a bit tattered, but it is still the star attraction for its sheer size.

With wings folded, it looks very different.

You might confuse it for this Giant Owl butterfly. Can you spot the difference? Pun intended.

I think this Malachite butterfly was my favorite!

Here are the rest of my butterfly photos.

On to the Prehistoric Forest!
Merlie feigned terror at the T rex.

But she relaxed when I told her this one is an herbivore. Note the sign asking visitors not to feed the dinosaurs.

Here are the rest of my Prehistoric Forest photos.

But the most memorable exhibit for us this time was the "Rare Earth" minerals exhibit. Much of the exhibit is a traveling show by a company called The Arkenstone. But it was supplemented by other wonderful specimens.

Many of these pieces seem crafted by a superhuman crafts person. Yet these are all formed by the forces of chemistry and physics. Here are just a few of my many photos.

The Museum has a temporary store for the Rare Earth exhibit where you can purchase some of these amazing specimens. Including these fossilized Ammonites, which are mollusks that lived tens of millions of years ago.

Here are the rest of my "Rare Earth" mineral exhibit photos.

For more information, visit the website of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Login to add Comments


Show Comments
JB86 Aug 01, 2022 09:40 AM
Butterflies, Dinosaurs and "Rare Earth" Minerals

We visited with daughter and grandson a few weeks ago and found it entirely worthwhile and interesting...the 4-year-old was afraid of the dinosaurs but loved the butterflies...

Artemisia Aug 01, 2022 03:33 PM
Butterflies, Dinosaurs and "Rare Earth" Minerals

A few months ago I happened to be near the Prehistoric Forest exhibit when I noticed a mother and her very small daughter making several rounds, spending a lot of time gazing at each of the dinosaurs. The little girl pointed at one and said something.
I asked the mother, "Did I just hear her say 'Stegosaurus'?"
"Oh yes," she replied. "She knows all the names of the dinosaurs, even the hard-to-pronounce ones. And more besides, maybe fifty of them."
"And how old is she?" I wondered.
The answer came: "Two."
A pause, then: "I try to take her other places, but she always wants to come here."

sbrobert Aug 01, 2022 06:38 PM
Butterflies, Dinosaurs and "Rare Earth" Minerals

Kids love dinosaurs indeed, ARTEMISIA. Kids learn fast when they are allowed to explore and learn on their own.

AHCHOOO and JB86 thank you, too, for your comments. I am curious if others enjoyed the "Rare Earth" minerals, too?

macpuzl Aug 01, 2022 07:01 PM
Butterflies, Dinosaurs and "Rare Earth" Minerals

It's a fantastic display. There's only one meteorite (that I saw), a Nantan. It has an interesting history that isn't shown in the display:

Name: Nantan
Classification: Iron, Medium Octahedrite (IIICD)
Composition: 92% Iron, 7% Nickel
Fall: 1516
Find: 1958
Location: Between Lihu and Yaozhai in Nandan County, Guangxi Province, China.
(25° 06' North, 107° 42' East)


This was actually a witnessed fall, chronicled in the Nandan County annals: "Zhengde (emperor in the Ming Dynasty, 1516 A.D.) 11th year, summertime in May, (Chinese lunar calendar; sometime in June for the Western calendar) stars fell down from a northwest direction, five or six-fold long (about 16-20 meters or 18-22 yards), waving like snakes and dragons, bright like lightning; then they disappeared in seconds."

In 1958, China needed large quantities of steel for construction. Small smelters were set up in rural areas and residential back yards. Everyone was told to look for iron ore, and even cooking pots were melted to produce steel. The populace in Nantan felt lucky, because they found many heavy rocks with a large iron content. When they tried to melt them in their backyard furnaces, they found the rocks would not melt at the temperatures used for normal iron ores. Local officials sent a report to the Chinese central government, which sent geologists who discovered that the rocks were iron meteorites. An estimated 9500 kilograms (about 10.5 tons) of the original meteorite survived.

sbrobert Aug 01, 2022 10:18 PM
Butterflies, Dinosaurs and "Rare Earth" Minerals

Here is my photo of the Nantan meteorite in this exhibit.

Thank you for the fascinating back story, Chuck! Here are the rest of my photos from the mineral exhibit. Many more than I could put in my article!

Please Login or Register to comment on this.