Recent adventures, a visit to the museum

Luna and Blake are quite keen on fossils and geology. Just a year ago Blake had an on-going ‘project’ carefully excavating our driveway looking for fossils, creating and collecting complex tales about the geology of the rocks he was finding, making experiments with waterways, eroding ‘outcrops’… all the while hoping, dreaming of finding a dinosaur fossil.

Hugh taking out rock trays

Blake, Luna and Dr Hugh Grenfell, getting into some cool rock collections

Luna and Blake are often bringing home specimens, and Luna has started a few of her own ‘collections’. Some I can help identify, others are more of a mystery, so for sometime I have been meaning to hook up with an expert on all things rocky, and where to find such an expert? The Auckland Museum! I got in touch and was able to make a time with Dr Hugh Grenfell, he welcomed us behind closed doors and solved some mysteries, shared some interesting rocks, and helped us identify the finds.

Mystery rock one:

quartz chalky measuring tape

Quartz, it turns out! Specimen from Karangahake Gorge. This small rock was a mystery, Luna said ‘Quartz!’ when she found it, cracking it open at home to see what was inside. I thought it was too light and almost chalky in texture, not what I expected.

Mystery rock two:

quartz measuring tape

Another quartz specimen from Karangahake Gorge. This was exciting, we learnt that this is just what you’d be glad to find if you were prospecting for gold around the Coromandel. No gold in this one though…

Hugh with Luna looking at rock trays

More interesting specimens, including gold!

Rock tray treasures


Rock tray treasures quartz

Colourful quartz crystals.

Mystery rock three:

tuff measuring tape

Tuff, we wondered if this was a lava bomb, due to it’s smooth rounded shape

Turns out to be a well weathered piece of ‘Tuff’, maybe from Northhead, interesting! Below is another example of tuff from the museum collection, and very common in Auckland due to All The Volcanoes.

tuff specimen

Cool! Seeing this makes it seem not-quite-so-odd when Luna and Blake bring home chunks of rock… “But it’s a Really Good Rock mum!”

Mystery rock four:

green rock measuring tape

Luna picked up this greenish rock at Waipu Cove Beach recently

So this is Greywake with quartz veins, and is really old, from the Triassic, about 250 million years!

Tray treasures

Who wouldn’t want cupboards like this at home?? Or is it just us… It was exciting to see what was behind those closed doors, and they did not disappoint.

Rock tray

Examples of crystal dendrites

Mystery rock five:

Our Dendrite

Our crystal dendrite rock on the left

Picked up in Nelson recently, I had been carrying this rock around for a while in my handbag, and it was exciting to see we had what looked like a dendrite. Ours is the rock on the left, next to a rather impressive museum specimen, we happened upon dendrites in drawers in the Children’s section. Bingo!

Dentrite rock tray and quick silver

We confirmed this with Hugh, and he showed us some really spectacular crystal dendrites.

Dentrite rock tray


Some of the trays contained very old collections, and were stored with the original museum signage. Lovely.

More rock trays

Other interesting rocks…

More Rock tray treasures

Always good to see some stunning rocks and minerals

Luna and the rock tray

Luna waiting with her specimens

Hugh with Luna taking out rock trays


It is really wonderful to be able to connect Luna and Blake with experts, who can share enthusiasm and knowledge. We have moved onto looking at the resources available on the GNS website, have a look here and I’ll be helping Luna keep better records of her finds (date and location mainly).

Thanks Auckland Museum, Dr Wilma Blom and Dr Hugh Grenfell for having us!

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