Ohio Rocks and Minerals

In Ohio fossils are abundant, but with one notable exception, gem grade rocks and minerals are rare.

The exception is beautiful and colorful Ohio Flint. Flint, a type of chalcedony, is found in Flint Ridge. Flint Ridge is a nearly eight-mile-long vein of high-quality flint located in southeast Ohio about 40 miles east of Columbus, the state capital, in Licking and Muskingum counties of eastern Ohio. Hundreds of quarry pits and workshop sites are scattered across more than 2,000 acres of ridge top in these Appalachian foothills. Flint was first collected by Native Americans to make tools. Today flint is prized by knappers, lapidaries, jewelry makers, and mineral collectors. Flint Ridge is the site of the Flint Ridge State Memorial and the Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries and Nature Preserve where you will find a museum with flint-related exhibits, hiking trails leading to hundreds of prehistoric flint quarries, two annual flint-knapping events, and a nearby Pay for Dig site, where rockhounds can collect their own colorful specimens of Flint Ridge flint.

Limestones and several other sedimentary rocks underlie the state of Ohio. They arch upward toward the west so that progressively younger rocks are exposed from west to east across the state. Most of the upper part of the state shows the typical appearance of the midwestern glaciation.

Ohio is a leading state for limestone mining. Limestone is commonly used as construction material, used as crushed stone in concrete, asphalt, and in making cement. Limestone is also used in products such as fertilizer, toothpaste, lipstick, carpet, chalk, porcelain, vinyl, paper, hair mousse, and fiberglass. Ohio limestones were deposited in warm, clear, shallow inland seas that covered the state during most of the Paleozoic Era. The limestone contains fossils of brachiopods, bryozoans, echinoderms, and corals.

Gold was discovered in Ohio in the late 1800s. It is believed the gold was pushed down from Canada by the glaciers. Several commercial mining operations occurred in the state, but ultimately, all of them failed. While Ohio is not good for commercial prospecting, some hobbyists claim success in the state.

Coal mining in Ohio began around 1800. Usable coal supplies are found throughout eastern and southeastern Ohio.

Before venturing out-do some research on where and what you can collect. Remember you must have permission to collect on private property.

See my page on Rockhounding Rules for general information on the rules of collecting rocks on various lands.