Editors Note: A complete list activities follows this release

Photos available

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Dig into geology and discover the ground beneath your feet at the sixth annual “Can You Dig It?” at the Florida Museum of Natural History from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 17.

This free, family-friendly event is sponsored by the University of Florida department of geological sciences and features hands-on activities and engaging demonstrations from the Gainesville Gem and Mineral Society, Jackson Stoneworks and Santa Fe College.

“We’ve added some new displays and tables this year,” said Matt Smith, lecturer for the UF department of geological sciences. “We really want to get the people and kids out to see what geology is all about. Lots of kids don’t know what geologists actually do, so every year we try to mix it up and make the event better.”

Some of the new activities this year include demonstrations of making sharp tools from stone, known as knapping, as well as information about the ways minerals are used in our homes and daily lives, how granite countertops are created and what mud and lake sediment can reveal about ancient climate change.

Visitors may also see demonstrations of volcanic eruptions, dig in a “gem mine” to find fossils, gems, rocks and other treasures or watch gem cutting and jewelry making to see how rough stones become finished jewels.

Smith explained the event also seeks to educate students about careers in geological sciences.

“Right now it’s one of the top rated careers by the Department of Labor,” he said. “It’s a career path that has a bright future.”

Visitors may also win prizes by collecting stamps from each activity table during the event.

Food from High Springs Orchard and Bakery and The Pearl Country Store and Barbecue will be available for purchase.

Last year more than 1,500 people attended the event.

For more information, visit www.flmnh.ufl.edu/education/canyoudigit.htm or call 352-273-2062.

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Source: Matt Smith, 352-392-2231, mcsmith@ufl.edu
Writer: Logan Gerber
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu

Can You Dig It? Activities List
10 a.m.-3 p.m. March 17

Volcanic Eruptions (on the hour and half hour starting at 10:30 a.m.)
Learn why some volcanoes erupt explosively while others simply steam. Watch out – ours is ready to blow!

Gem and Fossil Mine
Pretend to be a scientist and sift for gems, minerals and other treasures.

UF Department of Geological Sciences
Learn about the UF geology department, how to become a geologist and why geoscience is an excellent career choice.

Passport Prizes
Grab a passport and collect stamps as you explore geology! Present your completed passport and receive a prize.

Make Your Own Earthquake!
Learn about the Richter scale by creating your own earthquake.

Deep Ocean Drilling
Discover how scientists study the ocean floor through this hands-on activity.

Oreo Plate Tectonics
Discover how mountains are made using Oreo cookies. Learn more about the process behind mountain formation and how the world changes over time.

Work of Water
Learn how water has shaped the Earth’s surface. Then explore what you can do to protect our drinking water supply.

Minerals, Minerals Everywhere
Discover the many uses for minerals in your homes and everyday lives.

From the Ground to Your Home, the Story of “Granite” Countertops
Let the experts from Jackson Stoneworks show you how stone is turned into beautiful countertops.

Tools of a Geologist
Discover the many tools geologists use to study the Earth.

The Rock Cycle and the Santa Fe College Rock Cycle Garden
Learn how rocks are continuously recycled on Earth into new and different forms.

Gainesville Gem and Mineral Society
Meet Gainesville Gem and Mineral Society members and get information about the club, events and ways to join!

Gem Cutting & Jewelry Making
Watch rough and jagged stone transformed into beautiful jewelry by members of the Gainesville Gem and Mineral Society.

Secrets of Sand
Examine sand under a microscope and discover what the tiny grains look like.

Check out these space rocks and see how they differ from those found on Earth.

Knapping: the Craft of Fashioning Tools from Stone
Watch skilled knapper Tom Nutter demonstrate how ancient people fashioned razor-sharp tools from stone.

Geologic Time Tunnel
Explore the “Tunnel of Time” and take a journey back through geologic history.

Exploring the Deep Ocean
Examine deep-ocean volcanoes and see incredible life forms from the deep.

Explore rocks from the past and learn how the North Pole has shifted over millions of years.

See fossils of amazing prehistoric life forms and explore Florida’s fossil history.

Paleolimnology: Learning History from Lake Sediment
What can mud tell us about climate and environmental changes? You’ll be surprised to find out.