Composite screenshot of the original virtual microscope website home page

Welcome to the Virtual Microscope for Earth Sciences

We're opening the new system with the UKVM collection, which initially includes 60 rocks and thin sections from around the United Kingdom. We've selected a range of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, but if your favourite isn't here don't worry, we will be adding more week by week and hoping to reach 200 rocks by the time we finish.

The team have spent the last nine months digitising, designing and building the new virtual microscope. Check out the features we've managed to pack into the UKVM:

  • New, improved HTML5 microscope app, with panning, zooming, and viewing in plane polarised light and between crossed polars 
  • New distance and angle measurement capabilities, and location cross hairs that can be docked when not needed
  • New specimen app that rotates and zooms hand specimens
  • New 'share' button built into the virtual microscope app to enable embedding into external sites or emails
  • New social networking links to make it even easier to share an interesting specimen
  • Rocks from around the UK from myriad sources
  • Data for each specimen regarding its rock category, mineral composition and age
  • The location where each rock originated, with links to the British Geological Survey browser map 

More detail on these new features is available under the About tab above.