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The geology museum

A unique experience in the Mascarene Islands

Mauritius is a volcanic island which has been constructed in six different episodes during its volcanic history ranging from more than 8 million years ago to 20,000 years ago. Each episode has produced its marked features and as such Mauritius constitutes a living laboratory to study island volcanism.

Although there are several museums in Mauritius, none is devoted to exhibiting artefacts that illustrate the geological characteristics of the island. This lacuna has been addressed by the Vallée des Couleurs which is strategically located from a geological point of view. This amphitheater valley is surrounded by three of the major lava series which have formed Mauritius.

The geology museum started as a small unit a decade ago. Since then, it has undergone several upgrading and expansion. Now, visitors at the Vallée des Couleurs will have an opportunity to visit the geology museum which is unique in the Mascarene islands.

The museum exposes and conserves a collection of more than 125 rock specimen comprising essentially of volcanic rocks scientifically chosen in the field by Prem Saddul, Geomorphologist , who has conducted intensive research in the geological built up and physical environment of Mauritius. The rocks represent samples from different volcanic episodes during the geological construction of the island.

A geology museum is a place of great educational value. It is with this in mind that specimen of metamorphic, sedimentary and fossil rocks obtained from different continents have been exposed. This helps complete the rocks family of the world: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic.

The display at the museum also comprise an assortment of the 23 coloured earths which provide the Valley its unique characteristics. The 23 coloured earths have evolved from the oxidation and further oxidation of metals and minerals found in the volcanic ashes emitted by the Bassin Blanc volcano and which have carpeted the valley. The 23 – colour earth samples have been chemically analyzed and described and the different hues authenticated by a specialist in colour coding using internationally acknowledged colour codes.

To help visitors understand clearly the geological and physical environment of Mauritius, the museum is enriched with a set of four large scale geology, geomorphology and soils maps, posters illustrating the rock families of the world and a large 3-D interactive model of the volcanic landscape of Mauritius.

Visitors at the Vallée des Couleurs will have a unique opportunity to visit the geology museum recently set up .The museum exposes and conserves a collection of basaltic rock specimen scientifically chosen and which represent samples from different volcanic episodes during the geological construction of the island which extends from 8 million years before present to 20,000 years before present.

The display at the museum also comprise an assortment of the 23 coloured earths which is a unique characteristics of the Nature Park. To help visitors further understand the Mauritian physical environment and the geomorphology and specificity of the Vallée des Couleurs, the museum is enriched with a set of four large scale geology, geomorphology and soils maps as well as other posters.

The Museum would be of great interest to research scholars, students and the general public. To see the objects carefully displayed and described in the museum with one’s own eyes can be really enchanting.