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National & State Symbols
Kentucky State Rock
Adopted on July 14, 2000.
On July 14, 2000, agate was officially designated as Kentucky's state rock (Kentucky Acts ch. 146, sec. 1).
These sharp-angled bands resemble the outlines of fortifications of a castle.
This might be confusing, because scientifically agate is considered a variety of the mineral quartz. Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. Agate is considered both a mineral (cryptocrystalline quartz) and a rock, and is formed by chemical precipitation from silica-rich solution in rock cavities. Often characterized by bands of spectacular colors, agate with bright red bands of color found in Kentucky is prized by collectors, and is called Kentucky Agate.
Although rocks are generally thought of as sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous types, collectors and hobbyists call varieties of some minerals rocks as well. Quartz has many varieties. Naturally occurring chemical impurities in the quartz can cause it to be colored. When different impurities occur in bands within quartz, the quartz will have a colorful, banded appearance, and it is then called agate.
Kentucky State Rock: Kentucky Agate
The Kentucky Geological Survey was not consulted prior to this designation, which is unfortunate, because although beautiful agates are found in Kentucky, agate is scientifically a variety of the mineral quartz, and not a rock. Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. Rocks are composed of many minerals and are formed through sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic processes, which, strictly speaking, agate is not. Now Kentucky has a state rock that is really a mineral, and a state mineral (coal) that is really a rock!
Agate, a microscopically crystaline form of quartz, a silicate mineral, has delicate and varying shades of color arranged in layers. In the typical occurrence the bands are irregular, curved, or in concentric patterns. Agate is used as an ornamental material or in semi-precious jewelry. The color banding is usually related to chemical impurities; for example, iron gives a red or orange color and manganese or calcium give black or blue colors.
Beautiful specimens of red, black, yellow, and gray banded agate have been discovered in Estill, Jackson, Powell, Madison, and Rockcastle Counties. These "Kentucky Agates" are derived from the Borden Formation of Early Mississippian age and can be collected along some river drainages where the Borden is exposed to weathering. Many of these agates are displayed at local rock shows.
AGATE, a banded variety of Chalcedony
What is an Agate?
Agates are semi-precious gemstones that are a variegated form of chalcedony, which is silicon dioxide in the form of microscopic fibrous quartz crystals. Agates naturally develop when an empty pocket inside a host rock fills in molecule-by-molecule, layer-by-layer as these microcrystals self organize to form concentric bands or other patterns. The colors and arrangement of the microcrystals are influenced by changes in pressure, temperature, and mineral content that occur during the formation process. Unlike other gemstones, each agate is unique. Even slabs cut from the same specimen will vary in color and design.
Agates develop as secondary deposits in hollow cavities, called vesicles. Although they can form in all types of host rock, most of the world's agates developed in ancient volcanic lava. When the continents were first forming, layers of molten lava pushed toward the earth's surface through rift zone cracks, volcanoes, and other geologic events. Within the lava, there were pockets of trapped gases. Later, these gases escaped through cracks that formed as the igneous rock cooled and hardened, leaving hollow cavities. Other cracks and seams also formed when adjoining sections of lava cooled at different rates.
These empty cavities and seams filled with fluids rich in dissolved and suspended quartz molecules (silica), as well as other mineral impurities. When the silica concentration became supersaturated, it developed a gelatin-like consistency either throughout the pocket or in a layer that served as the active crystallization front. Over time, the silica molecules began to form miniature fibrous microcrystals that attached to the sides of the cavity or seam. During the filling-in process other mineral impurities collected at the inside of the chalcedony silica band, forming intervening and often contrasting bands. This pattern repeated until the entire vesicle was filled in, or until all the silica rich solution was used up. If there was the proper balance of silica and mineral impurities, then the entire cavity filled with alternating bands. If there was an insufficient quantity of mineral impurity or if the pressures and temperatures changed, the cavity completed filling in with macrocrystalline quartz, or another form of silica.
Agate Gemstone meaning
Healing properties of agate
TITLE I - SOVEREIGNTY AND JURISDICTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH.
Kentucky House Bill 123
(BR 318) - J. Bowling, J. Adams, R. Adkins, S. Alexander, J. Arnold
Jr., A. Arnold, B. Ausmus, III, E. Ballard, S. Baugh, C. Belcher,
L. Belcher, I. Branham, K. Bratcher, B. Buckingham, T. Burch, De.
Butler, Dw. Butler, J. Callahan, P. Childers, L. Clark, B. Colter,
J. Crenshaw, R. Damron, B. DeWeese, J. Draud, J. Fischer, J. Gooch,
G. Graham, J. Gray, B. Heleringer, C. Hoffman, J. Hoover, D. Horlander,
S. Johns, E. Jordan, M. Marzian, T. McKee, C. Miller, L. Napier,
F. Nesler, R. Palmer, R. Palumbo, M. Rader, T. Riner, A. Simpson,
J. Stacy, K. Stein, G. Tapp, R. Thomas, M. Treesh, J. Turner, K.
Upchurch, C. Walton, J. Wayne, M. Weaver, R. Wilkey, P. Worthington,
Rocks, Minerals, & Gems
State symbols represent things that are special to a particular state. Some of these symbols are the Gemstone, Minerals, Rocks. Of the 50 states, 19 have adopted a state gemstone and all have adopted some sort of earth symbol.