Utah Rocks and Minerals
Utah covers 54.4 million acres, of which 35 million are owned by the federal government. There are five National Parks and six National Forest. The western part of the state yields obsidian, topaz, trilobites, agates, jaspers, and mineral specimens. But the lower half ot the east side of the state is particularily rich in rocks and minerals. Here you can find many varieties of agates, jaspers, petrified wood, and the famous Moqui marbles.
Gold was discovered at Gold Hill in Tooele County in Utah in 1858. Lead-silver ore was discovered in 1869 in Bingham Canyon in the Oquirrh Mountains of Salt Lake County. Placer gold was discovered in Bingham Canyon the following year. These placers were the largest and most productive ever discovered in Utah, yielding about $1.00 EU €0.78.5 million in gold. However, they were practically depleted by 1900. In 1906 operations begin concentrating on copper. Now the area is the home of the world's largest open pit copper mine.
Topaz, the state gem, is still found in quantity at Topaz Mountain in the Thomas Range. Red Beryl comes exclusively from Utah. The well known Dugway Geodes come from an area along the Pony Express Trail southwest of Salt Lake City. Septarian Nodule, Fluorite, Rhyolite, Picasso Marble, Variscite, Azurite Nodules and Obsidian are all found in Utah. In addition to gold, silver, copper, and coal, the following minerals also proved to be of significance to mining in Utah: beryllium, clay, gilsonite, gypsum, lead, limestone, magnesium, phosphate, molybdenum, potash, potassium, salt, sand and gravel, stone, tungsten, uranium, vanadium and zinc. Ultraviolet or fluorescent minerals are abundant there too.
One place to dig fossils for a fee in Utah is U-Dig Fossils (www.u-digfossils.com). They claim to have 40 acres of the best Trilobite collecting in the world. Other collecting sites can be found here.
See my page on Rockhounding Rules for general information on the rules of collecting rocks on various lands.
OakRocks has been in the rock and mineral business for 30 years. We have a great source for Utah Rocks and Minerals and carry a variety of both finished and rough materials.