Student art exhibit draws from beauty found in Earth’s mantle

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — While examining thin sections of rocks in a microscope, Angelina Santamaria saw both research and art.

Santamaria, a senior double majoring in earth science and policy and geography, created the exhibit “Hidden Landscapes: An Exploration of Earth’s Mantle,” which features samples of rocks and minerals from deep within the Earth. The exhibit will open from 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Museum & Art Gallery in the ground floor of the Deike Building.

The work spotlights the aesthetic and scientific beauty of xenoliths, rock fragments brought to Earth’s surface during volcanic eruptions that become embedded in the cooling lava. Santamaria created the exhibit with help from Julianne Snider, interim director of the EMS Museum and Art Gallery; Tanya Furman, professor of geosciences; Shelby Bowden, doctoral candidate in geosciences, and Emma Stolinas, an undergraduate student in geosciences.

This exhibit was made possible with funding from an Erickson Discovery Grant, the Millennium Scholars Program and the National Science Foundation.

Santamaria is a Millennium Scholar and Schreyer Scholar, and is a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and EMS Academy of Global Excellence. She is also a research collaborator at Penn State.

The newly renovated EMS Museum and Art Gallery draws upon a diverse collection of Earth materials, scientific instruments and tools, and industrial art to create exhibits that highlight the history of the college and the extractive industries of Pennsylvania. Exhibits include fluorescent minerals, flexible sandstone, fossils of every sort, sculptures, paintings, meteorites, mine safety lamps, cartographic tools and an historic geological relief map of Pennsylvania. The collections help the museum fulfill its mission of serving the college, University and broader community as an informed educational and technical resource for science, art and history of the Earth, and mineral sciences.

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