Newsday from New York, New York on June 11, 1999 · 118
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Newsday from New York, New York · 118

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, June 11, 1999
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C 0 V E R S TO R Y Journey to The Center of Earth EARTH from Page Bll You Spell It Weil Sell IL (516)843-3000 Call C7T8) 343-9000 l - — ” — - - j " "f t ' 7 C 7 rfayr CLXXXX planet And unlike most museum exhibitions we have the opportunity to be tactile here because after all we’re dealing with rocks “We’re encouraging everyone to touch and feel he adds And as many of the videos accompanying the exhibits show geology is very much a hands-on science “We go in the field and get dirty” Mathez says Among the dynamic Earth features you can touch in the Hall of Planet Earth are an earthquake fault line from Essex County NY the oldest known rock on the planet: a meteorite recovered from the Northwest ' Territories in Canada that’s about 4 billion years old and the oldest known substance of any kind on the planet: zircon crystals that go back an incomprehensibly exact 4276 billion years (The precisely measured decay of uranium within zircon enables scientists to pinpoint its age) The 8 830-foot hall is organized around five basic questions about our planet: How has Earth evolved? Why are there ocean basins continents and mountains? How do we “read” rocks to discover Earth’s history? What causes climate and climate change? And why is Earth habitable? Video and computer interactives accompany most of file actual rock specimens and sculpted Earth models to help answer these questions A banded iron formation from Ontario — about 27 billion years old — records the gradual increase of oxygen in Earth’s at-mosphere after the appearance of single-cell organisms created photosynthesis A pair of once-matched long-estranged sandstone rocks — one from Siccar Point Scotland and another from Monticello NY — have been reunited side by side after being separated when the continents drifted apart millions of years ago A scientist from France Jacques Malavieille has painstakingly created an exhibit featuring layers of colored sand to demonstrate how continental plates collide forming mountain ranges and ocean troughs Meanwhile in the here and now an “Earth Event Wall” presents live telecasts video footage and computer animation focusing on current news of such geologic and atmospheric dynamics as storms earthquakes and volcanic eruptions all over the world Nearby you can see such weird volcanic formations as a “lava tree" from Hawaii recently formed when flowing lava hardened quickly around a tree into a petrified ice-cream-cone shape While the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth named for its major benefactors David and Ruth Gottesman doesn’t stint on its mission to educate in a stimulating way plenty of features are just plain fun Jump on a circle on the floor in the earthquake section and your impact will be recorded on a seismograph Be careful though: An impact of 65 or so might bring down the whole city And if you sit on one of the benches near the earthquake fault line and the lava tree you’ll experience science by the seat of your pants as recorded sounds of the dynamic Earth vibrate from hidden woofers “It’s a multimedia multisensory experience” says Mathez But the Hall of Planet Earth is just the start of a major new expansion at the museum devoted to the natural sciences The temporary ground-floor entrance to file hall will be replaced sometime next' year when the Rose Center for Earth and Space opens Then you’ll be able to enter the Hall of Planet Earth from the new planetarium located just on the other side of the moon Make that a lunar model — the museum hasn’t yet mounted an expedition to lasso the actual moon (S’ CELEBRATION OF THE OPENING OF THE HALL OF PLANET EARTH At the American Museum of Natural History Central Park West and 79th Street 10:30 am-4 pm tomorrow Mock volcano explosion Dixieland band street performers and Earth-themed food such as Sno-cones and Rock Candy “Everest” an IMAX film chronicling the 1996 tragedy in which eight climbers died premieres tomorrow and the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival presents the “Earth Wind and Cinema” series today tomorrow and Sunday Call 212-769-5200 or 212-769-5305 for film schedules and prices Admission to museum $450-58 Open 10 am-8:45 pm Fridays and Saturdays 10 am-5:45 pm Sundays-Thursdays for general information call 212-769-5100 i I 1 ' "—tr — 1 —

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