Earth Science Collections

Main content

The Earth Science Collections document the diversity of the fossils, rocks and minerals in Switzerland and other mountainous regions. Thanks to their wealth of material, they constitute a unique archive of the earth's history.


The Earth Science Collections can be subdivided into the following three areas:

  • Geological-Palaeontological Collection: approx. 500,000 objects
  • Mineralogical-Petrographic Collection: approx. 100,000 objects
  • Relief Collection: approx. 100 geological and topographical reliefs


  • Stratigraphic and Regional Collection
  • Palaeontological Collection: palaeobotany, palaeozoology and micropalaeontology
  • Historical Collection: academically valuable original illustrations and taxonomical type specimens
  • Mineralogical and Petrographic Collection: systematic collections and special collections
  • Tunnel collections: rock samples from the construction of Swiss railway and road tunnels (e.g. the Gotthard, Simplon and Albula tunnels)
  • Type- and Reference collections
  • Exercise and teaching collections: the Geology of Switzerland, General Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, Structural Geology, Quarternary Geology, Palaeontology, Petrology
  • Relief Collection (including reliefs by Albert Heim, Rudolf Staub)

Relevance of research and Public

The collections provide documentation and source material for reconstructions of geological processes and past climatic and environmental conditions. They constitute a rich source of interdisciplinary research, teaching and visual material.

Current activities, projects

Selected finds are publicly accessible, and displayed in a permanent exhibition and partly in special focusTerra exhibitions.

Use of the archive / online presence

The Geological-Palaeolontogical Collection has a database that is accessible online and linked to the international data exchange portal GeoCASe.

E-Pics Earth Science Collections contains photos from the Oswald Heer Collection (around 1,300 objects), the Albert Heim Collection (around 1,100 objects) and the Gotthard Tunnel Collection (around 60 Objects).  

Page URL:
Sun Jun 25 03:18:49 CEST 2017
© 2017 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich