Web Notables: Soil Molecules in 3D

Have you ever wanted to see what a soil organic molecule or soil mineral molecule looks like? Now you can view soil molecules at the Virtual Museum of Mineral and Molecules.  While the collection isn’t extensive, you can view many of the common soil minerals, soil organic matter, and a couple of pesticides.

Each molecule can be viewed in ball and stick, stick, or spacefill format. You can also rotate the molecules in space with your mouse.  There is a discussion of the characteristics of each molecules. Within the discussion, you can select certain aspect of the molecule to view. For example, in the Soil Organic Matter molecule you can view just the phenolic groups.  A right mouse click over the molecule gives you many more options.  You can show a bounding box, set the molecule to spin and much more.

I accessed site on a PC running Explorer. The applet took a while to load on my first visit. After that, each molecule loads and switches between the various formats rapidly. The default view appears to be ball and stick format. The last news posted in 2005 states that the applet works with Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, and Safari, but not Firefox.


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