1969 - 1991
The Hall of Earth History featured a rotating relief globe of the Earth, which showed land surfaces, seas, and then newly charted mountains and plains of the oceans. The hall also featured a film, which described Earth’s history from its very beginnings through evolutionary changes to the present. Visitors could view a seismographic globe with a cutaway section to show the interior of the Earth and a seismograph that recorded the shock waves of earthquakes. Other nearby exhibits discussed the different strata of the Earth (1, 1972, p. 52-53).
Displays illustrated the diversity, evolution, and structure of important fossil groups and mini-dioramas showcased habitat groups of seafloor and forest communities during different geologic time periods. Three of these, Life in the Cretaceous Seas, Life in the Permian Seas, and Life in the Ordovician Seas were moved to the Irma and Paul Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life sometime after the closure of the Hall of Earth History and continue to reside there as of 2017. Dioramas of typical oil fields illustrated some of the factors involved in the location of oil pools, such as the geometric attitudes of the rock strata, geologic age, the depth beneath the surface, and the porosity of the rock (1, 1972, p. 52-53).
A fire broke out in 1972, which necessitated the replacement of the hall's Six Processes of the Earth display (1, 1972/73, p. 32). In 1985, an 11-minute video, "Earth's Wildfire: Evidence of a Dynamic Planet," opened in a three-screen theater presenting the story of how plate tectonics cause much of the movement of the Earth's crust. The installation, which utilized videodisc recordings and front-projected images, was partially supported by a grant from Conoco and Consolidation Company (1, 1985/86, p. 55; 1, 1986/87, p. 5). The hall closed in the early 1990s to make room for the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Orientation Center.
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