Sponsored by LAGCOE and University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s School of Geosciences, this new exhibit showcases the science of oil exploration and production. Energy Unearthed is designed to show visitors how oil is formed and found, explored and extracted, and how petroleum products are created and consumed.
Throughout the exhibit, geologic samples, digital interactives, equipment, and scale models tell the story of the oil industry and its vital role in Louisiana’s economy and around the globe.
Oil and natural gas, or hydrocarbons, are non-renewable energy resources. Unlike renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, and water, non-renewable resources take millions of years to form only where conditions in the Earth are just right. They cannot be regenerated.
Oil and natural gas are forms of petroleum, a word that literally means “oily rock.” Petroleum is called a fossil fuel because it is geologically very old and is found in the ground, like fossils. Petroleum is formed from plants and microscopic animals that lived millions of years ago, when heat and pressure turned decayed matter into crude oil.
Rock and mineral samples from the UL Geology Museum collection are displayed according to type to demonstrate the everyday importance of geology and to encourage interest in the field. Geology is an earth science focused on the study of rocks, minerals, fossils, and natural resources and the processes by which they change over time.
The Rock Cycle Touch Table explains the geological processes that make and recycle rocks. See and feel the differences between the main types of rock – igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. Learn how rocks are formed in different ways and changed into other types of rocks over and over again through the natural processes of weathering and erosion, compaction and cementation, heat and pressure, plate tectonics, and melting and cooling.
Use the magnifying glass on the top of the case to get an up-close look at petrified wood, a type of fossil created when plant material like a tree limb or log is turned to stone. The process that creates petrified wood is called permineralization, and it occurs when plant material is buried and deprived of oxygen, which delays the decaying process.