Florida Rocks and Minerals
Florida is not really known for good cutting or lapidary material. But Florida does have some rocks and minerals. Primarily Florida is covered with sedimentary rocks: limestone or calcite and sandstone. Pyrite has been found in Ocala and Petrified Wood has been found in Bartow.
The most famous rock found in Florida is Agatized Coral or more accurately Agate Psuedomorphs after Coral. It was named the state rock in 1979. First found at Ballast Point in the Tampa Bay area around 1825, the agatized coral also has been found at Tarpon Springs, south of New Port Richey, near the town of Kathleen, and along the banks of the Suwanee River in Hamilton, Columbia, and Suwanee Counties. The material is found in two forms, as hollow geodes, which represent partial replacement of coral, and as solid pieces which represent total replacement. The coral is replaced by a waxy, translucent, botryoidal, multi colored chalcedony. The geodes are most often collected as mineral specimens, but the solid ones can be cut into attractive cabochons. The material can be blue, red, brown, amber, white, black, or a combination of these colors.
Florida is rich in fossils. Florida fossils range from 45 million-year-old sand dollars, to bones and teeth from Ice-age saber tooth tigers, which lived in Florida just 10,000 years ago. Bones from mammoths and mastodons are found in stream beds. Shark teeth are found on the beaches of southwestern Florida. Much of Florida's limestone bedrock contains fossils of the animals that lived in the shallow seas that once covered the state. In addition, Florida has at least four documented meteorite strikes.
In certain areas of Florida, some minerals are of such economic importance that they are mined. In northeast Florida, for example, a group of minerals known as "heavy minerals" are mined from ancient beach ridges. These minerals are useful for their titanium content, used for manufacturing paint. In southwest Florida, phosphate minerals are mined for the manufacture of fertilizer products. Florida produces about one-fourth of the world's supply of phosphate.
Florida named Moonstone as its state mineral in 1970 in honor of the successful Apollo moon mission in 1969, even though this mineral is not found in Florida.
See my page on Rockhounding Rules for general information on the rules of collecting rocks on various lands.
Since Florida has such few lapidary cabbing rocks, we do not often carry material from there, Click here to see if we have any Florida rocks in stock!