Fall 2002
The Class of 2006: Who are the new freshmen?
100 years of the Skiff
Challenge of the century
Eyes of the world
9-11 and the media
Alma Matters
Memīries Sweet
Riff Ram
Class Notes
Back Cover
Back Issues

TCU Magazine "Back Cover"


Precious gems

It hurtled toward Earth for eons carrying olivine and an iron-nickel alloy. Then four months ago, this rock tore through the atmosphere at thousands of miles an hour before smacking into the mountains near Glorieta, N.M.

The sliced and polished surface resembles old linoleum, but this speckley specimen is a pallasite meteorite from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Now it resides at TCU with more than 1,000 other space rocks in the Oscar Monnig Meteorite Collection, which has been studied by university geologists since the Fort Worth businessman donated them in 1980s.

This winter, the university will showcase the extraterrestrial gems -- most come from our solar system's asteroid belt plus a rare few from the moon and Mars -- in a new 1,700-square-foot museum off the second-floor lobby of the Sid W. Richardson Building.

"We have a very modern collection with valuable Martian and lunar samples," says Dr. Art Ehlmann, emeritus professor of geology and the museum's curator. "We definitely have the largest collection of meteorites found in Texas."

In addition to providing educational and academic opportunities to students across North Texas, the gallery should become a Cowtown tourist attraction and enhance the TCU geology department's already "stellar" reputation.

The gallery opens in January.