The Earth Systems collection of around 50,000 specimens covers much of Scotland’s rich geological and mineralogical diversity.


Our collection includes a particularly good range of agates, minerals from important historical mining regions in or near Scotland, unusual igneous rocks from inaccessible regions, and a small but diverse meteorite collection (including three of the four known Scottish meteorites).

We have approximately 70% of all known mineral species from Scotland including good representation from the Leadhills/Wanlockhead, Strontian, Alva and Talcoty mines, to name a few. Our igneous suites include a good coverage of St Kilda island rocks, recent donation of Gardar Suite rocks from Greenland, and even includes stones from eastern Africa collected by David Livingstone.

While the bulk of the collection comprises 19th century donations (including the Heddle and Dugeon Collections) we are actively seeking to expand our fault rock and biomineral collections in line with our current research programs.


Dr Rachel Walcott: Principal Curator of Earth Systems

Rachel WalcottSpecific responsibility: Head of Mineral, Meteorite and Rock collections with particular emphasis on the development of fault rock (pseudotachylyte), ore mineral and bio-mineral collections.
Research interests: Metamorphic petrology and rock fault genesis, Pb-rich ore minerals and deep sea vent mineralisation, erosion processes (terrestrial and martian), and tectonic geomorphology.

You can find out more about Dr Rachel Walcott here.

Peter Davidson: Senior Curator of Mineralogy

Peter DavidsonSpecific responsibility: Curation of the mineral, meteorite and gem collections, XRD and FTIR analysis.
Research interest/expertise: Mineralogy, meteorites, topographical mineralogy (especially Scottish), the history of National Museums Scotland and its mineral collections, the use of minerals as paints and pigments, the application of x-ray diffraction analysis, mineralogical etymology, health and safety (hazardous substances).

Simon Howard: Curator of Rocks

Simon HowardSpecific responsibility: Documentation and curation of the rock collections. SEM and thin section analysis.
Research interests: Geo-archaeology provenancing.

Research Associates

Dr. Maria S. Alferova

Research interests/expertise: Optical phenomena in gemstones and field gemmology. Has helped in the acquisition of mineralogy specimens as well as collaborating on joint research projects.

Brian Jackson

Research interest/expertise: All minerals and gems and the application of FTIR to identify and study them. Strontian Lead Mines, Scottish gold and low grade metamorphism as an alternative new approach to mineral-forming processes, pegmatite minerals and gem feldspar.

In this section

Back to top