Clear gypsum discovered in Qatar
Shaping the Qatar Peninsula (Quaternary)
Object Name: Selenite Crystal
Period: Shaping the Qatar Peninsula (Quaternary)
Date: 4 million – 4,000 years ago
Provenance: Donation by Jacques LeBlanc in 2011
Dimensions: 9 mm (H) x 80.7 mm (W) x 39.3 mm (D) 58 g (Wt)
Medium: stone
Registration Number: QNM.2011.660.20
The object is a sample of selenite, which is a clear variety of gypsum. Unlike desert roses, which form below the water level, selenite forms at the surface with minimal input of dirt and sand, giving it its clarity. This sample highlights the importance of gypsum in Qatar's geology for millions of years, beyond just its modern formation in sabkhas.
The waters of the Gulf rose and fell as glaciers retreated and advanced across the world. Sea levels stabilised around 4,000 years ago, defining the coastline of Qatar as we know it today.
Displayed here are desert roses. These clusters of minerals and sand grains occur when salty ground water evaporates in very dry conditions. They probably formed in the past 6,000 years, when Qatar became arid enough for them to develop. Desert roses inspired the architecture of the National Museum of Qatar