Mare Isakar

Geological collections

Geological collections aim to ensure the collection and preservation of geologically significant material. The wildlife we collect and preserve is on display in the permanent exhibition "Earth. Life. Story", databases and educational programmes.

The geological collections consist of more than 135 000 specimens of inanimate nature, of which 87 000 have been digitised. The scientific collections contain more than 4900 specimens (originals) referred to in scientific articles, including 805 standard specimens. In addition to geological material, we also maintain a geological archive and a photographic collection.

Over the last two hundred and twenty years, minerals, rocks, meteorites and fossils from all over the world and from all eras have been added to our collections. Our material is unique because much of it is now extinct.

The collections are used on a daily basis by researchers at the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology in local and international projects. The collections of Estonian palaeontology and geology are an important scientific resource for researchers into the history of the Earth. University of Tartu Natural History Museum also serves as a teaching base for students. We loan geological material to other museums, libraries and other interested parties.

The common information system SARV is used to manage Estonian geodata and related data. The portal provides information on museum specimens, rock samples, drill cores, localities, literature, photographic archives and other geological data objects. In addition, there are separate portals for fossils and analytical scientific data from the Baltic Scandinavia.

The joint database of Estonian geological collections "SARV" brings together the geological collections of Tallinn University of Technology, the University of Tartu and the Estonian Museum of Natural History. As of 2015, the database contains over 340 000 records and over 80 000 images and other media objects. They are accessible through the Geological and Fossil Portal, as well as through public APIs and various data networks (GeoCASeGBIF, etc.).

Mare Isakar, University of Tartu Natural History Museum
Olle, Tallinn University of Technology

eMaapõu: Geoscience data and e‑services

eMaapõu is a window to geological information in Estonia, proving direct search functionality to the data hosted in the geoscience data platform SARV, and links to external resources. In Estonia, geological data are mainly produced and managed by the The Geological Survey of Estonia, the Land Board, the Environmental Board, the Institute of Geology of Tallinn University of Technology, the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, the Department of Geology of the University of Tartu and the Estonian Museum of Natural History, as well as companies active in the field.

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Information about geological collections in Estonian Research Portal

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Collections in geology

Information about the 4.6 billion years of our planet's evolution is stored in the rocks, minerals and fossils of the Earth's crust, which form the bulk of geological collections, or geocollections for short. Collections form the basis of a significant part of geological research - many new discoveries have been made by studying previously collected and preserved material. And, conversely, collections are often formed in the course of scientific or applied research, where it is necessary to preserve and make available evidence.

Geological collections in Estonia

The Estonian National Geological Collection is a virtual community of collections and geological data from different institutions, which has been active since 2004. The National Geological Collection includes: The Department of Geology of Tallinn University of Technology, the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, the Department of Geology of the University of Tartu, the Estonian Museum of Natural History and the Estonian Soil Museum of Estonian University of Life Sciences. In addition, the Estonian Geological Survey holds large collections of drill cores.

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