Welcome to the McMaster Virtual Geology Museum

Discover rocks, minerals and fossils collected from around the world.  Take some time to learn the basics of rocks and minerals, browse our course samples, and explore some highlights of our Special Collections.

Geology Basics

Explore rudimentary rocks, minerals, and fossils in our galleries


A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic substance with a definite chemical composition.  Explore minerals in our mineral gallery.

Igneous Rocks

Igneous rocks form from the cooling and solidification of magma (below the earth’s surface – intrusive rocks) or lava (above the earth’s surface – extrusive rocks).

Sedimentary Rocks

Sedimentary rocks form from the lithification of sediment, precipitation from solution, or consolidation of the remains of plants and animals.

Metamorphic Rocks

Metamorphic rocks form from the transformation of pre-existing rock into new rock as a result of high temperatures and/or pressures.

Invertebrate Fossils

A fossil is evidence of a plant or animal from a previous geologic period preserved in the earth’s crust.  Explore common invertebrate fossils in our fossil gallery.


Explore samples used in some of our courses

stripy cliff cropped

Earth and the Environment

(EarthSc/EnvirSc 1G03)

EarthSc/EnvirSc 1G03 is a course that introduces students to environmental geology and geomorphology through the study of processes that form the earth and its surface features.


Geology of Canada

(EarthSc 2T03)

EarthSc 2T03 is a course that introduces students to the tectonic processes involved in the development and evolution of the Precambrian rocks of Canada.

Special Collections

Explore the Niagara Escarpment and donated collections

Niagara Escarpment

Discover the rocks beneath your feet in Hamilton, Ontario. This gallery contains a brief history and cross-section of the Niagara Escarpment and photos of the exposure at Rock Chapel in Hamilton.

Fleming Collection

Explore the geology collection of Clarence and Dorothy Fleming from their travels around the world.  The Fleming Collection was donated to the School of Geography and Earth Sciences in 2009.

Christianson Collection

The Christianson Collection is a beautiful collection of minerals from around the world.  Explore the colour, texture and origin of these minerals here.