- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A new state library in Anchorage is full of rocks, offering the public data core samples from around Alaska.

The Geologic Materials Center opened Wednesday, replacing the library in Eagle River, where most of the samples will remain until the end of winter.

Operators say the new facility provides oil and gas developers a place to learn about the geology of areas they want to explore, KSKA (https://isgd/RXntUu) reported.

More than 100 people attended Wednesday’s opening, gathering in a concrete room where conveyor-like roller tables hold boxes of rocks.

The new, larger center will be able to house nearly four times the size of the current collection.

Housed in a building formerly used by a Sam’s Club warehouse store, the facility took the state two years and $24.5 million to purchase and renovate.

State Department of Natural Resources geologist Dave LaPain said the core collection is a valuable resource for oil and gas developers. He said it can help the industry create predictive models without the larger expense of drilling new wells.

“A facility like this, I think, is an economic engine for the state,” he said.

Ken Papp, curator of the center, said individuals as well as companies have access to more than 100,000 boxes of rocks.

“So it’s kind of a back-and-forth between promoting science and the knowledge of rocks we have here and yet keeping things accessible and preserved for future generations to learn about,” Papp said.

Eighth grade students from a local middle school also attended Wednesday’s opening ceremony. They walked down rows of shelves, with some students checking out private sample viewing rooms.


Information from: KSKA-FM, https://www.kska.org

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