why is serpentine the california state rock
Serpentine is related to the rocks that hosted the gold that made California a state. Out of nowhere, a strange political issue: California's state rock is serpentine, and there is a effort to remove it. Serpentine is a shiny green and blue rock found throughout California. Learn the Facts About Serpentinite Before It's Removed as California's State Rock, bill introduced by California State Senator Gloria Romero. It can be found in … California also designated gold as the state mineral in 1965. So, why is the issue coming up now? The ratios in the Klamaths are even more lopsided as serpentine covers about 14% of its land area, perhaps the most of any bioregion in the world. Serpentine rock with veins of NOA. Serpentinite is a unique and beautiful rock that’s rare in most of the world. Serpentine is closely associated with gold deposits in the foothills, with the California Gold Rush, and California’s history. [specify] In California, 10% of the state's plants are serpentine endemics. The term “serpentinite” is the proper term for the rock that is mostly made up of one or more of the serpentine group minerals. Serpentine, California's state rock, is relatively rare in the rest of the world. Serpentine rock with veins of NOA. As fits our state rock, it is brought to the surface by faulting and is known as a "regional metamorphic" -- a rock that requires large-scale faulting such … It varies in color, from apple-green to black and has a shiny, wax-like appearance with a soapy or greasy texture. (According to the bill, California was the first state, in 1965, to name an official rock.) It is the state rock of California, USA and the California Legislature specified that serpentine was "the official State Rock and lithologic emblem." Serpentinites and Serpentine Formation. And now, someone is hijacking the state designation for reasons I find suspicious. Serpentine is California’s state rock. In California, however, it is found in abundance. It can be found throughout California’s mountain ranges, especially the Klamath Mountains, the Coastal Range, and the Sierra Nevadas. This interesting matrix of various rock types and large amounts of serpentine soil in the area also leads to unique ecosystems that rely on the properties of the California state rock. Serpentine contains the deadly mineral chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, exposure to which increases the risk of the cancer mesothelioma. • The term “asbestos” does not have a unique mineralogical association; it is derived from the term that describes the fibrous nature. Supporters of this bill argue that having a rock with an association with harmful derivative materials is inappropriate for a state symbol. The wording of the bill is such that it’s not surprising there is some confusion and misunderstanding. • Varieties of asbestos from a completely separate group of minerals, called the amphibole group, are considered to be the most dangerous form. • There is no such mineral as “chrysotile asbestos”; there is a mineral “chrysotile” that crystallizes into a fibrous material referred to as asbestos but not all varieties of serpentinite contain it. Serpentine soil habitats are often home to many native species that have adapted to some of its odd properties. California was the first state to designate an official state rock, Serpentine in 1965. Senate Bill 624 would remove serpentine as the state rock of California, and furthermore would declare the rock to be dangerous to the health of state residents. What’s important is that the proposal deserves a fair and open debate. Serpentinite is a metamorphic rock that is mostly composed of serpentine group minerals. It is only found in … As one blogger put it, the only way a piece of serpentinite might be harmful is if someone hurled a piece at you. California's nickname is the Golden State. Serpentine, common in California and rare elsewhere, was designated as our state rock in 1965. The serpentine is a dark-colored rock with industrial uses as well as decorative uses that can take on the appearance of jade when dyed. – is a rare rock type whose source is the mantle of the earth, dozens of miles below the surface. Serpentine group minerals antigorite, lizardite, and chrysotile are produced by the hydrous alteration of ultramafic rocks. Serpentine is a very common mineral, and is found in abundance worldwide. Here in California, however, we have North America’s largest exposures and we’ve made it our official state rock. Serpentine is a very common mineral, and is found in abundance worldwide. Chrysotile asbestos is sometimes found in … If organizations really are concerned about educating the public about asbestos and mesothelioma, why make the state rock go away? I am writing to offer some perspective on Senate Bill 624 and the current debate about removing serpentine as the California State Rock. • Serpentinite is a metamorphosed version of rocks that make up oceanic crust after they are incorporated into subduction zones (plate boundaries where oceanic plates are thrust under continental plates). If the state assembly feels that spending the time and resources to do that isn’t in California’s best interests at this time, then simply table the bill and deal with it at a later date. For one, asbestos is not a mineral - neither is serpentine (thus its place as "state rock"). These are igneous rocks that are composed of olivine and pyroxene (peridotite, pyroxenite).Serpentine group minerals occur less commonly in some olivine-bearing marbles … This assertion is, to say the least, not quite accurate. Photo of serpentine rock © Michael Baird, shot near Cayucos, CA: The Franciscan Mélange at Estero Bluffs (used by permission). The current state rock, serpentine, is not the cause of mesothelioma in the state of California or anywhere else. Serpentine barrens are a unique ecoregion found in parts of the United States in small but widely distributed areas of the Appalachian Mountains and the Coast Ranges of California, Oregon, and Washington. Serpentinite is a metamorphic rock that is mostly composed of serpentine group minerals. Serpentine and Its Plant Life in California Ffirst, a multiple definition: Serpentine vegetation grows on serpentine soils that weather from serpentine (serpentinite) rock that contains serpentine minerals (chrysolite, antigorite, lizardite, etc.). In California, however, it is found in abundance. Learn about the geology and ecology of serpentine areas in the northern Sierra Nevada. It’s almost a perfect choice for our state rock except that it is not found in Southern California. Serpentine is a metamorphic rock that forms underneath the ocean, where it is squeezed by colliding continental plates and forced upward. km) of serpentinite outcrops, and it is present in 42 of the 58 counties. It has a distinctive greenish-gray to bluish-black color and may have a waxy Figure 1. Some of the mainstream reporting about this bill has failed to communicate that exposure to the rock serpentinite is distinct from exposure to the powdered form of a component mineral that might be in the rock. Endemics make up about 10% of the CFP vascular plant endemics yet serpentine soils in California comprise < 1% of the state's surface. ^In 1965, California became the first state to name an official state rock. Serpentinite – the state rock of California! The recognition and study of serpentinite in California contributed to the understanding of modern plate tectonic theory. This is an important distinction. California Senate Bill SB 624 is intended to strike off serpentine as the state rock, claiming. Chrysotile often occurs as fibrous veinlets in serpentine. This resulted in serpentine being named the official California state rock in 1965, with native gold taking the title of official state mineral. The generally accepted theory is that serpentinite is created through a high pressure and a low temperature metamorphism of mantle rock or oceanic crustal rock. Serpentine is a California has a greater number of minerals and a wider variety of rock types than does any other state. position at the convergence of two tectonic plates and the stresses resulting from that meeting. Serpentine is a group of minerals, one of which is chrysotile, the most common component in the industrial material known as asbestos. It contains the state's principal deposits of chromite, magnesite, and cinnabar. Serpentinite rocks are almost exclusively made of serpentine minerals. While we are all entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts. The final point I’ll make about this issue, which is something many other geologists have made as well, is that what’s most important here isn’t to maintain serpentinite as the state rock at all costs. Few plants can tolerate the chemical conditions in these soils, so many endemic plants grow there and nowhere else (the poppy is an obvious exception; it is classed as serpentine-tolerant plant, but grows in many environments). California designated serpentine the official state rock in 1965 (California was the first state to designate a state rock). seconds to think about it. Sorry, time’s up. Special to the Enterprise Although the state mineral is native gold, the official state rock for California is Serpentine. The state rock of California is the serpentine, and it was officially designated in 1965. These are igneous rocks that are composed of olivine and pyroxene (peridotite, pyroxenite).Serpentine group minerals occur less commonly in some olivine-bearing marbles … Serpentine group minerals antigorite, lizardite, and chrysotile are produced by the hydrous alteration of ultramafic rocks. Learn why we shouldn't in this series of posts on a beautiful rock . Serpentine is California’s state rock. In that spirit, I think some basic geologic facts are in order: • Firstly, “serpentine” refers to a group of minerals, not a rock. This unique and beautiful rock is rare in most of the world but here in California we have largest exposures of serpentine in North America. Serpentine, California's state rock, is relatively rare in the rest of the world. • Serpentinite has a unique association with California for many reasons including: its association with gold deposits and the resulting California Gold Rush history, many plants unique to California grow on serpentinite-rich soils, the fact that serpentinite is thought to promote slow (and less hazardous) ‘creep’ along faults, and others. To reiterate, one must inhale the powdered version into their lungs for it to be harmful. Serpentine, the California state rock, is a metamorphic rock that is made up of the mineral Serpentenite (if this is confusing, just call both the mineral and the rock Serpentine--many geologists do). California's state flower, the Golden Poppy, grows on serpentine soils at Hells Hollow on Highway 49 in California's Mother Lode. Serpentine: California State Rock Earth & Space Science , ESS2: Earth's Systems , ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems This California Geological Survey bulletin describes the state rock, serpentine. However, the connection between the mining process and harmful effects were discovered thereafter and asbestos mining was banned in California in the 1970s. California has a greater number of minerals and a wider variety of rock types than does any other state. Serpentinite is brought to … Serpentinite from the Klamath Mountains, California (sample courtesy of Hannah Scherer; photo from Brian Romans). Because of its abundance, and its many industrial uses, serpentine was considered an economic importance to California. Serpentine isn’t a single type of rock, but rather a suite of minerals, often called the serpentine subgroup. In this formula, X will be one of the following metals: magnesium, iron, nickel, aluminum, zinc, or manganese; and, Y will be silicon, aluminum, or iron. Minerals in the serpentine subgroup are usually green or brown, but can also be black, yellow or white. The minerals are composed of iron magnesium silicate. California designated Benitoite as the state gemstone in 1985. In 2010, a bill was introduced which would have removed serpentine's special status as state rock due to it potentially containing chrysotile asbestos. The primary reason, as stated in the bill, is because “serpentine contains the deadly mineral chyrsotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, exposure to which increases the risk of cancer mesothelioma.” Supporters of the bill include cancer awareness groups and other groups representing those dealing with mesothelioma. • Serpentinite has a unique association with California for many reasons including: its association with gold deposits and the resulting California Gold Rush history, many plants unique to California grow on serpentinite-rich soils, the fact that serpentinite is thought to promote slow (and less hazardous) ‘creep’ along faults, and others. Serpentinite is a unique and beautiful rock that’s rare in most of the world. Here in California, however, we have North America’s largest exposures and we’ve made it our official state rock. It is serpentine rock. Serpentinite is California’s State Rock. The state contains over 1,988 square miles (3,200 sq. Species-rich archipelagos of communities comprise 1.5% of the state's land area. Having serpentine as California's State Rock calls attention to these issues in many places; and provides a "teaching moment." California was the first of the 50 states to choose a state rock. California designated serpentine the official state rock in 1965 (California was the first state to designate a state rock). It’s unclear to me. California should not designate a rock known to be toxic to the health of its residents as the state's official rock." Serpentine is a shiny green and blue rock found throughout California. Serpentine is the state rock of California and takes its name from its mottled pattern, which is sometimes reminiscent of snakeskin. A 2010 effort led by State Senator Gloria J. Romero, a Democrat from Los Angeles, sought to remove serpentine from its perch as the state's official stone. Source | Reference Links | Additional Resources. Serpentine is a This mineral gives the serpentinite its characteristic light to dark green color. It contains the state's principal deposits of chromite, magnesite, and cinnabar. Serpentine group; Serpentine soil, a soil derived from the serpentine mineral Schikorr reaction, involving also the formation of magnetite and hydrogen by a very similar mechanism https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/beauty/serpentines/adaptations.shtml Serpentine minerals form where peridotite, dunite, and other ultramafic rocks undergo hydrothermal metamorphism.Ultramafic rocks are rare at Earth's surface but are abundant at the oceanic moho, the boundary between the base of the oceanic crust and the upper mantle.. Serpentine minerals are made of tiny sheets of silica tetrahedrons that are loosely held together. km) of serpentinite outcrops, and it is present in 42 of the 58 counties. Much of the information presented in this post comes from the educating and advocacy about this issue by geoscience educator Garry Hayes at his blog Geotripper, Bay Area science writer Andrew Alden at geology.about.com, and environmental historian Jon Christensen from the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. Because serpentine makes poor soil, few plants can grow on it; therefore there is little to obscure this showy … • The health danger of asbestos is when people breathe the powdered form into their lungs — and not just once or twice, but chronically over many years. Why? Serpentine soil habitats are often home to many native species … The bill met with resistance from some California geologists, who noted that the chrysotile present is not hazardous unless it is mobilized in the air as dust. The asbestos in serpentine is mostly the less-harmful form, chrysotile, rather than the more dangerous form - amphibole. The most common serpentine mineral in Franciscan rocks is antigorite. The latter forms by different geologic processes from a variety of rock-types; All State Rocks. Serpentine is an interesting and valuable rock that has an important role in education about California history, geology, biology, and environmental science. Why? All State Rocks. A bill introduced by California State Senator Gloria Romero in February 2009, the language of which was completely gutted and then amended in April of this year, would “remove serpentine as the state rock and lithologic emblem and would leave the state rock unspecified.” Why introduce a bill to the state assembly devoted to removing the state rock? Serpentine is closely associated with gold deposits in the foothills, with the California Gold Rush, and California’s history. Recently, Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society hosted a field trip into the mountains with geologist Susie Bartz and naturalist Liz Gaspar. The state contains over 1,988 square miles (3,200 sq. Serpentine occurs in central and northern California -- in the Coast Ranges, the Klamath Mountains, and in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The appropriate generalized formula is thus It should be noted that serpentinite is the rock, while serpentine is the soil which results from … Serpentine rock is primarily composed of one or more of the three magnesium silicate minerals, "lizardite," "chrysotile," and "antigorite." • Bottom line: walking on, being near, handling, or even eating a piece of serpentinite rock is NOT harmful. One of the more interesting bits of history I’ve learned following this story is that the original 1965 proclamation of serpentinite as the state rock was motivated by a desire to highlight its economic and commercial importance as a source of mined asbestos. position at the convergence of two tectonic plates and the stresses resulting from that meeting. It has a distinctive greenish-gray to bluish-black color and may have a waxy Figure 1. Serpentine is formed when rocks deep in the earth's interior come into contact with water, heat, and pressure. California was the first state to designate a “state r… It is the state rock of California, USA and the California Legislature specified that serpentine was "the official State Rock and lithologic emblem." It is an appropriate state symbol. See also Edit.
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