Listing of State Minerals, Rocks / Stones, Fossils, and Gemstones

Legislatures and governors from most, though not all of the 50 States have specified a mineral, rock / stone, fossil, and/or gemstone that they feel represents their respective state (see table below). In most cases, the species selected reflects a significant part of the particular state’s economy, as with New Hampshire choosing granite, West Virginia choosing coal, and Indiana with Salem limestone (which was used in the construction of the Empire State Building and The Pentagon). So generally speaking, this listing of state minerals makes sense. However, oddities remain.

First of all, not all states, specifically Kansas have chosen a state mineral, rock / stone, fossil, or gemstone, while several other states such as Alabama, Colorado, and Texas have chosen a state mineral, rock / stone, fossil, AND gemstone. Secondly, several of the state “minerals” are also individual elements on the Periodic Table (i.e. gold, copper, and silver). Arguments have been made that such metal reserves are not technically “minerals”.

Then there is COAL. The State of Kentucky identifies coal as a mineral, while both Utah and West Virginia identify coal as a rock / stone. But since coal is formed with the compression and consolidation of ancient organic material, one could also make an argument that coal could also represent a fossil.

Similarly, the State of Mississippi lists their choice of a rock / stone as PETRIFIED WOOD, while petrified wood is listed as the State Fossil for Arizona and a gemstone for Washington. In one particular instance (Vermont), the State Fossil is identified as one individual beluga whale skeleton that dates back a mere 11,000 years, while New York chose the eurypterid, a fossil dating back to the time long before the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. With regard to “agatized coral” with the State of Florida, the formation of an agate presents as a rock / stone, but being that coral is an animal, one could also argue that it is the state fossil.

So take a minute and review this list. Maybe you will find something that interests you. And perhaps you will associate a mineral, rock / stone, fossil, and/or gemstone with where YOU live, or where you have traveled.

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