This inconspicuous lump of rock is actually a piece of lava from Mt. Vesuvius, Italy. It is one of the Museum’s earliest collected objects, having been purchased in 1886 in New York.
It was probably no more that a curiosity back then, yet it has been incredibly valuable for us to use in discussing contemporary issues.
It is on display in the Ecologic exhibition, and used to explore some of the causes of climate change (other than anthropomorphic climate change).
Large volcanic eruptions can impact earths climate reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, lowering temperatures in the troposphere, and changing atmospheric circulation patterns.