From UC San Diego:
The Marine Vertebrate Collection is one of four that comprise the Oceanographic Collections at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the largest university-based oceanographic collections in the world. It shares Vaughan Hall with the Benthic Invertebrate Collection and the Pelagic Invertebrate Collection, both home to their own impressive assortment of marine organisms. And to the north, a refrigerated room chills part of the Geological Collections.
“This is only a small portion of this collection,” Alex Hangsterfer, manager of the Geological Collections, tells me as the lights flicker on. “The rest, large rocks and dredged samples, are located in a warehouse off campus.”
It’s not your average rock collection. This assortment of over 3,500 dredged samples fills a 9,000-square-foot building. Rocks from all major tectonic features—including hot spots, island chains, seamounts, and abyssal plains—are represented. There are also pieces of drowned coral reefs, ice-rafted cobbles, manganese nodules, as well as very rare igneous, metamorphic, and mantle rocks.
Home to some of the largest samples, the Geological Collection also has some of the smallest: opal microfossils looking all the world like carnival spun glass, which are neatly secured in 40,000 glass slides used for microscope observation.