Geological collections of the Estonian Museum of Natural History

Museum website

The geological collection of the Museum of Natural History holds approximately 3,500 samples. Nearly three fourths of the specimens constitute paleontological material, the oldest specimens of which were collected in mid-19th century.

The Museum preserves collections from such well-known Estonian geology researchers as academic Carl Friedrich Schmidt, Ernst Friedrich von Koken, and Alexis von der Pahlen. The Museum’s collections include a number of published original samples from the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, including for example a fossil of Bothriocidaris pahleni, one of the world’s oldest sea urchins found in the rocks of the Haljala Formation.


The dominant part of the paleontological collection is formed by Paleozic fossils found in the Estonian bedrock. The most numerous samples among the preserved material include fossils of marine invertebrates from the Ordovician and Silurian Periods. The collections also include fossils of early vertebrates – fish and jawless fish. The paleontological collections furthermore contain bone fractions and skeletal fragments of mammals of the Quaternary Period, most of which originate from Russia’s northern territories. Bone findings from Estonian territories among other things include two molars of the Hairy Mammoth, found near Puurman, which based on datings thus far can be deemed to be one of the latest mammoth findings in Northern Europe.

Lithological collections hold typical sedimentary rocks of the Estonian bedrock: limestone, marl, sandstone, and mudstone. Petrological collectionsare small in numbers with the main parts comprised of Estonian glacial erratic samples and samples of metamorphic rocks and igneous rocks collected from the territory of the former Soviet Union. The number of the Museum’s mineralogical specimens has increased significantly during the last decade, owing to domestic and foreign donations. While minerals inserted into the collections in previous years mostly come from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Germany, the contemporary collection includes minerals from Australia, South America, and Africa. Some of the most notable mineralogical samples include large quartz, amethyst, and fluoride druses.

The Museum of Natural History Department of Geology
Phone: (+372) 6411057