March 2016

California State Symbols - State Mineral Gold

The California state mineral - no surprise here - is gold. The California Gold Rush (1848-1855) brought over 300,000 people to the California territory to settle the state. Many were Americans, but people came from all over the world - Latin America, Australia, Asia, and Europe. Most didn't find their fortune, BUT, they did build roads and towns, established ranches and farms,and drew the railroad west to the coast.

California Rockhounding

So, that wraps up California. I'll start on Colorado next week.

BTW there are so many other things to look for in California. You can find tourmaline at the Himalaya Mine in Santa Ysabel and at the Pala Chief Mine, Ocean View Mine or Stewart Mine just outside San Diego. Nephrite jade can be found in many areas of the state. If you go to California, check out some of these museums that have great displays of interest to rockhounds of all ages. There are many more!

California State Symbols - State Gemstone Benitoite

I got a little behind on my states - California's saber tooth cat was so interesting it was hard to follow!

But, the California state gem is benitoite (ben-ee-toe-ite) and it's a very rare and beautiful gemstone - one of my favorites. This color suite of benitoite is available for sale from the owner of the mine, Dave Schreiner. It shows the range of color for the gemstone.

California State Symbols - State Fossil Sabre-Tooth Cat

This month I'm covering California's state rocks and fossil and I'm starting with the state fossil - the sabre-tooth cat. This artist's rendition is of a Smilodon californicus, a.k.a. a saber tooth tiger.

Rockhounding in Arkansas

There are lots of other rocks to find in Arkansas.  The Rockhounding Arkansas website divides the state into five regions for rockhounding and fossil collection.  The Ouachita Mountains area has been discussed in the previous posts, so I'll share a little information about the other regions.

Arkansas State Symbols - State Rock Bauxite

To finish Arkansas, I'll share a little information about their state rock bauxite. Bauxite is the source ore for making aluminum, and Arkansas had lots of this important ore in the center of the state - there is even a town named Bauxite where the mines are. Discovered in the 1890s, bauxite was mined by the General Bauxite Company, then by the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, and finally ( and still) by ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America). Production peaked in Arkansas during the two World Wars, then dropped off as demand was reduced.

Arkansas State Symbols - State Mineral Quartz Crystals

The state mineral for Arkansas is the quartz crystal.  Arkansas and Brazil are said to have the highest quality quartz crystals in the world - and many people head to Mt. Ida, a small town in the Ouachita Mountains where most of the quartz crystal mines are located.  Additional mines can be found in Mena, Jessieville and Story.

Arkansas State Symbols - State Gemstone Diamond

You might be able to locate diamonds in other places in Arkansas, but if you are serious  about finding one, you need to go to Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro.  This 911 acre park has a 37 acre plowed field over a diamond bearing volcanic pipe - a 95 million year old volcano crater.  The first diamond was found here in 1906 by a farmer.  The site went through numerous owners and attempts to commercially mine diamonds, but there aren't enough stones to make commercial mining profitable.  The site was purchased by the state in 1972.  Since the

Arizona Rockhounding

Arizonal is also called the Grand Canyon state and has so many rocks, gemstones and minerals it is a rockhound's paradise.  You can find agates, jaspers, meteorites, fossils, rhyolites, malachite, azurite, chrysocolla, native copper, gold, silver, selenite roses (aka Cherokee Tears), aragonite, hematite, various quartzes, etc..  Here are a few of the places you can go look for rocks.  All listed here are public access.  Remeber that Arizona has a day and year limit for collection - 25 pounds per day and 250 pounds per year - and collection cannot be for commercial pu

Arizona State Symbols - State Metal Copper

Arizona's nickname is "The Copper State."  In fact, since 1910, Arizona has been the leading copper producer in the U.S.A.  Although early European settlers knew copper was available, it was difficult to mine and get to market, so they focused on the more lucrative silver and gold ore found in Arizona.  That changed in 1876 when the railroad came through Arizona, making the mining of copper profitable.

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