Newsday from New York, New York on June 11, 1999 · 115
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Newsday from New York, New York · 115

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, June 11, 1999
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Journey to the Museum takes an inside look at home exotic home By Steve Parks STAFF WRITER T MAY BE HOME to us all but Earth nevertheless is an exotic planet And in the new Hall of Planet Earth — HoPE for Bhort — opening tomorrow at the American Museum of Natural History you can see it from an astronaut’s (or alien’s) perspective without being launched aboard a space shuttle (or kidnaped by a UFO) The centerpiece of the new hall at the museum on Manhattan’s Central Park West is the Dynamic Earth Globe This eight-foot hemisphere suspended above a circular am phitheater beams digital images collected from satellite data rendering a unique virtual view of Earth as seen from far above its atmosphere During a continuous 12-minute video loop the planet is stripped first of its cloud cover revealing dark blue oceans and stark green vegetation then the oceans evaporate and the lush ground cover disappears revealing a haunting view of a dead planet without water or atmosphere — until gradually all the elements reappear and the hemispheric rotation is completed While the Dynamic Earth Globe may be the most eye-catching among dozens of COVER STO R ’ A The American Museum of Natural History is shaking things up with the Make Your Own Earthquake exhibit which is part of its new Hall ol Planet Earth The 8830-square-foot hall opens tomorrow STAFF PHOTOS BY AM MINTZ attractions the truly exotic features of this new permanent exhibition are 168 rock and other natural specimens collected over the past four years in 28 expeditions to 25 countries as well as to the ocean flixir Ice-core samples from thousands of feet Ix-low the ever-frozen crust of interior Greenland for instance What's so fascinating about chunks of ice Hating as far back as 910(H) years? Air bubbles trapped within the ice contain gases dust and chemicals that reveal changes in climate and atmosphere from Ice Ages to temperate periods as well A 27-billion-year-old specimen of a banded iron formation from Canada provides evidence of the evolution ot Earth's atmosphere Y as such relatively isolated events as the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A I) and the implementation of the Clean Air Act by the United States in 1974 i Yes governments can make a difference I Three such ice-core samples from Greenland are part of the Hall of Planet Earth exhibition and will be there permanently or for at least as long as the refrigeration holds out The most expensive expedition conducted by the museum with the University of Washington retrieved at a cost of S3 million the firt “live” rock towers around which life-forms thrive on heat emitted from volcanir vents at the bottom of the ocean These sulfide chimneys also known as “black smokers” were rwovered from the Juan Do Fuca Ridge off the coast of Washington and British Columbia at a depth of f 7300 feet — where there is no sunlight They host microbial life that's the basis fur a fund chain going all the way up to eyeless crabs the size of a large human hand (Temperatures inside these vent chimneys reach 302 degrees Centigrade but the water doesn't brul or vaporize because of the extreme pressure at thos-depths i Such an? the stresses — energy pressure friction — that have shapr-d Earth explains Edward Milhez curator of the Hall of Planet Earth wh has a d'ictnrate in geology from the University of Wa-hington "What we've tried to do” --avs Muthez a participant on the Juan I)e Fuca expedition and many others for the museum “is to show not just the prnre— es that have made the Earth what it is today but to illustrate that it's still a dvnamic Please see EARTH on III I O v at a M HMii uiNnr Avium aviI’-v in

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