Arizona is an extraordinary state for rockhounding. The state is called the Grand Canyon State, in honor of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. The state also is nicknamed the copper state. Arizona has minerals, gemstones, fossils, and two National Parks that are premier destinations for rockhounds. In addition, Tucson Arizona hosts the largest rock show in the world.
State Rocks, Gemstones, Minerals, Fossils, & Dinosaurs
Rockhounding Tip: Knowing state rocks, gemstones, minerals, fossils, and dinosaurs often can be very useful information for rockhounders. Ordinarily, states with significant mineral deposits, valuable gemstones, fossils, or unusual or significant rock occurrences will designate an official state mineral, rock/stone, gemstone, fossil, or dinosaur to promote interest in the state’s natural resources, history, tourism, etc. Accordingly, such state symbols often are a valuable clue as to potential worthwhile rockhounding opportunities.
State Gemstone: Turquoise (1974)
Arizona designated turquoise as the official state gemstone in 1974. Turquoise is an opaque mineral, a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum. It is also formed by the percolating action of meteoric waters, usually in arid regions or deserts, on aluminous igneous or sedimentary rocks. In Arizona (as well as other locations around the globe), turquoise often is found near copper deposits. Typically, turquoise is a blue-green stone that has a somewhat waxy surface. The stone commonly was used in Native American jewelry and can be found throughout the state.
Petrified Wood - Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)
State Fossil: Petrified Wood (1988)
Arizona designated petrified wood (Araucarioxylon arizonicum) as the official state fossil in 1988. This petrified wood is what remains of large conifers that grew in the warm, wet, and seasonally dry climate of Arizona during the Triassic (about 250 – 210 million years ago). The conifers grew as tall as 150 to 200 feet. Once fallen, the trees were transported by streams and rivers and buried under layers of sediment in a lowland basin. Then, slowly over time, each cell of the plant was replaced by silica derived from volcanic ash. The vibrant colors are from minerals that mixed with the silica. The most famous petrified wood deposits can be found at Petrified Forest National Park located north of Interstate 40 east of Holbrook, Arizona.
Pinal Gem & Mineral Society
Artisan Village of Coolidge
351 N. Arizona Boulevard Coolidge, AZ 85128
Meeting Location: Artisan Village of Coolidge 351 N. Arizona Boulevard (one block south of Northern Avenue on Arizona Boulevard; turn Left on Pima Avenue proceed one block to open gate on left to parking area.)
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