Rockhounding Rhode Island
Rhode Island is a poor state for rockhounding. Although the tiny state has a unique local rock, the state is a relatively poor area for recreational rockhounds.
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 Rock: Cumberlandite (1966)
Rhode Island designated cumberlandite as its official state rock in 1966. Cumberlandite is an intrusive igneous rock. It is only found in large concentrations in Rhode Island. Due to its high amounts of iron, it is slightly magnetic.
State Mineral: Bowenite (1966)
Rhode Island designated bowenite as its official state mineral in 1966. Bowenite is a compact variety of the serpentinite species antigorite. It is considered a semi-precious gemstone. Bowenite is found in the northern part of Rhode Island in association with Limestone and is found in different colors; light yellow, canary yellow, light and dark green, gray and blue. It was discovered in the early 1800's by a Rhode Island geologist, George T. Bowen, and named in his honor.
State-specific rockhounding books (including the books listed here as well as other books), regional rockhounding site guides, and other helpful rockhounding resources are identified - by category - in the Books & Gear section of Gator Girl Rocks with a link to the Gator Girl Rocks Amazon Store where you may easily browse selected resources and securely place an order. Your order will benefit Charity Rocks!
- James W. Skehan, Roadside Geology of Connecticut and Rhode Island (1st ed., 2008)
- Allan W. Eckert, Earth Treasures Vol. 1 - Northeastern Quadrant (1985; reprint in 2000)
- James Martin Monaco & Jeannette Hathway Monaco, Fee Mining & Mineral Adventures in the Eastern U.S. (2d ed. 2010)
- Kathy J. Rygle & Stephen F. Pedersen, Northeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide (4th ed. 2008).
Museums of Interest to Rockhounders
Museum of Natural History & Planetarium
Providence, Rhode Island
The Museum has an especially rich collection of plant fossils from Coal Age Rhode Island. These fossils – approximately 350 million years old – are older than dinosaurs. The Museum also has a Mineral Society.
Places to Visit - Interesting Sites To See
Rockhounding Sites for Children & Families
Iron Mine Hill - Cumberland, Rhode Island
Iron Mine Hill is home to Rhode Island’s state rock.