UW–Madison houses the oldest rock on Earth

You might not have known Madison is home to a...

Rock Your Mind
Sitting on a box in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Geology Museum is a rock. It’s a thin slice, subdued in its color and pattern. It’s not as big, colorful or sparkly as other items on display, but the title above it–“The Oldest Piece of Earth”–certainly catches the eye. While the Jack Hills metaconglomerate, as this rock from western Australia is known, is only three billion years old, the zircon crystals it contains are older, 4.4 billion years old. “These small crystals give us a glimpse of what Earth was like soon after it formed, 4.56 billion years ago,” the exhibit states. Hidden gem, indeed.

Artistic DiscoveryUW–Madison houses the oldest rock on Earth
The Chazen Museum of Art is filled with treasures. But an underappreciated spot is the Alexander Calder corner. In Gallery X on the third floor of the museum’s new building, you’ll find prints, paintings, sculptures and mobiles made by the renowned 20th century artist who used vibrant colors and bold shapes to create dynamism in two as well as three dimensions.