April 2016

Connecticut State Symbols: State Mineral Almandine Garnet

Although Connecticut doesn't have a state gemstone, it does have a state mineral that is also a gemstone - the group of garnets classified as almandine (iron aluminum garnet).  These garnets are found in numerous locations throughout Connecticut: the most famous spots for finding garnets include Colchester, Redding and Roxbury.  Most garnets found in Connecticut are deep burgundy red, often with some brown undertones.  Gem quality garnets in the state are fairly rare, although some nice ones have been found.  This photo of Connecticut garnet crystals comes from erefe

Connecticut State Symbols: State Fossil Dinosaur Track

I've been to Connecticut many times, but for some reason I never realized that dinosaurs are a very big deal there.  In the mid 1960s, while breaking ground for a new state building, over 2000 dinosaur tracks were uncovered in the Connecticut sandstone formation in the Connecticut Valley.  The tracks are believed to have been left by large bipedal carnivores during the Early Jurrasic period (200 million years ago) along what was then a shallow lake.  This area is now one of the "foremost dinosaur track locations in the world" according to the Connecticut state w

Colorado State Symbols - State Fossil Stegasaurus

I don't remember why, but as a child, the stegasaurus was always my favorite dinosaur.  In the pictures the face always seems so cute.  But, these huge herbivores were up to 30 feet long!  Still, that was small compared to many of the dinosaurs around at the time.

Rockhounding in Colorado

In poking around for information on rockhounding in Colorado, I found too much information to share! For example, just in the Salida, CO (again in Chaffee County) area I found:

Brown's Canyon; follow Chaffee County Roads 193 and 194. Old mines can be found off the side roads. You can locate fluorite, placer gold and copper. Dig through the tailings.

Marshall Pass: along the old abandoned railroad grade you can find jasper, marble, geodes, picture sandstone, rhyolite, and fossils.

Colorado State Symbols - State Gemstone Aquamarine

If you watch Prospectors on the Weather Channel, you know that Colorado's state gemstone is aquamarine.  The largest aquamarine crystal ever found in North America was found on Mt. Antero by Steve Brancato.  It's now is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. This photo of the crystal is from the Denver Post by C. Walker.

Colorado State Symbols - State Mineral Rhodochrosite

This week I'm starting on Colorado's state rocks and fossils, beginning with the Colorado state mineral, rhodochrosite. Designated in 2002, rhodochrosite is found in many areas of the state, but none of the mines are as famous or as important as the Sweet Home Mine near Alma, Colorado. This picture is of "The Searchlight" rhodochrosite crystal found in the Sweet Home Mine.