DELAND, Fla. – A new exhibit has opened in the Gillespie Museum at Stetson University.
Here are five things you should know about the exhibit.
1. The Agatized Coral and Other Silicified Fossils exhibit is now open. And you’re getting in for free.
2. Florida geologists Sam Upchurch and Gary Maddox are displaying their own personal collections, nearly 140 fossilized specimens. (Note: Upchurch says this is probably just 1 percent of his collection. He has a lot of bling.)
3. Upchurch has been collecting for 40 years. He says it's tough to predict what the inside of, say, a 20 million-year-old coral will look like once he puts a diamond saw to it. He held out a rare blue geode as an example. "Eighty-percent of the time, it's [he makes a disappointing face], but then you get one of these and that makes your day!"
4. All of the fossils in this exhibit fall under the technical term “silicified” because their original forms, and even sometimes their internal structures, have been replaced by silica. These fossils can be found in several areas in the state, and are highly sought after by collectors.
5. The new Agatized Coral and Other Silicified Fossils exhibit runs through May 1, 2020. (The museum is not new, however, and is celebrating its big 60th anniversary.)