The Jacklin collection of silicified wood and minerals is the result of more than 40 years of collecting by Lyle and Lela Jacklin of Spokane, Washington. Lyle and Lela, both WSU alumni, donated the collection to the geology museum in 1983. It is one of the most extensive collections of cut and polished petrified wood in the United States.
In the 1940’s, when the Jacklins first began collecting as a hobby, they found rockhounding was the one recreation their entire family most enjoyed. The collecting urge grew and later encompassed many collecting trips to Europe.
Most of the display consists of petrified log sections, bookends, thunder eggs and dinosaur bones from regions in the western United States. Some of these locations are the Saddle Mountains near Vantage, and the Hampton Butte and Swartz Canyon areas of east central Oregon. There are many specimens from Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, California, Texas, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming. Several hundred other specimens come from Mexico and even Brazil. Samples from the more exotic locations were obtained by the Jacklins by trading material they themselves had found.
The wood from Washington is relatively young–only 12 to 15 million years old, whereas the wood from Arizona is around 200 million years old. One of the rarer pieces is fossilized palm wood from central Washington. Palm trees were common in the area 15 million years ago when the region’s climate was much milder. Other items include an 8 foot petrified tree and a 500 pound piece of trunk which had been gnawed by a pre-historic beaver (the teeth marks are still plainly visible).