The rocks in the Virtual Microscope are presented as a series of collections to make them easy to browse. Our biggest collection is called the UKVM and consists of over 100 rocks from the United Kingdom, digitised as an open educational resource with JISC funding. Other collections feature rocks collected by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the Beagle, meteorites that arrived from outer space, and moon rocks gathered by NASA astronauts.
The collections are based on projects we have undertaken to digitise rocks and create virtual microscope thin sections and in some cases hand specimens too. Each virtual thin section allows you to study the mineral’s properties, size, shape, proportion and colour, and also analyse the micro textures as if using a specialist petrological microscope.
You will find all the collections here on the collections page. But you can also search through all the available rocks (whatever the collection) based on their age 'in time', their location 'in place' or by using the search feature we call 'in focus'.
Our virtual microscope collections include a full range of rock types native to Earth and beyond. To these we have added minerals and a Cabinet of Curiosities.