Vermont Rocks and Minerals

Vermont is not known for gems, but it is known for its marble, serpentine, and other metamorphic rocks.

Much of the area of Vermont is broken up by the Green Mountains and, parallel with them in the west, the Taconic Mountains. These mountain ranges are both mostly metamorphic rocks. Vermont’s soil is thin, so the underlying rock is often exposed.

Vermont’s named their state mineral talc in 1991. Talc is a silicate mineral, a type of clay, and one of the softest minerals there is. Talc was first discovered in one area in 1902 by horses slipping on the slippery surface. Vermont ranks second in output among the ten states that produce talc. There have several talc mines mostly in southwestern Vermont. Talc has a bad reputation due to the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder lawsuits, but talc is used for other things including ceramics, paint, paper, roofing materials, plastics, rubber, insecticides, automotive plastics, and many other products.

In 1992 Vermont declared granite, marble and slate as their state rocks. And they named grossular garnet as the state gemstone. Grossular garnet from the Belvidere Mine in Eden Mills is thought to be some of the finest specimen of its kind.

Vermont did have its own mini-gold rush in the early 1850’s. Gold was first found in the early 1800’s near Plymouth and Reading, but in the 1950’s the towns of Rochester, Bridgewater, and Plymouth became mining hotspots, attracting miners from all over the country. However, the gold rush in Vermont was short-lived. Most of the rivers and streams that cut through the Vermont hillsides are known to contain a decent amount of placer gold and even today people are still panning and hoping to strike it rich.

The Ely Mine is an old copper mine that operated long ago but is now abandoned. It was one of several copper mines along a 30-mile stretch of Vermont’s Orange County. Nearly 150 million pounds of copper were pulled out of these hills over the course of a century. The area is currently being cleaned up by the EPA. It is one of the best rock-hounding locations in Vermont. The mines are near Vershire, where rockhounds may find Pyrrhotite, Pyrite, Chalcopyrite, Sphalerite, Actinolite, Calcite, Malachite, Tourmaline, and Garnet.

Like most states, Vermont does have quartz crystals, agates, and jaspers, but there are no notable varieties found here.

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.