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SIU geologist shows history of minerals at New York museum

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A geology researcher from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has created an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on the history of minerals.

Daniel Hummer’s exhibit went on display earlier this month. It recounts the history of the original 12 minerals in the universe and how they evolved over billions of years, according to the university.

Its message is that minerals’ evolution and life are interconnected in ways previously unknown.

“Minerals may have played a role in creating life by allowing new interactions of molecules on their surfaces, and in turn, life alters the environment enough to allow the formation of new minerals,” Hummer said in a university news release. “So the evolution of both life and minerals rely on each other in ways that we’re only beginning to under- stand.”

Hummer is assistant professor in the School of Earth Systems and Sustainability at SIU. The museum asked him to develop the exhibit in 2018 and it was supposed to open last year until the pandemic hit.

It describes how key events — the first super- novae, the earth’s formation, the development of life and photosynthesis — led to the birth of new minerals.

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