State by State

Explanation of State-By-State Pages

All Information is Provisional

All the information provided below is provisional and subject to change as more information is known. The only information tied to the the specimens in the public record is the anecdotal text of the May 17, Hartford Courant article written by an anonymous reporter who did not attribute his information to any person or document. Based on his text, we infer that someone showed him the exhibit wall, pointed out certain stones, and described them while he took notes. Some of this information, it turns out, was in error.

The collector of the specimen stones, Albert G. Marsh, was a farmer from New Britain had no known training in geology. If he made a list, it would have been categorical by state, but his descriptions of rock type would have been either anecdotal or very general. The fact there we know of no place names other than states, suggests that he did not make a list, but rather attached the state names or numbers to the specimens. The fact that the Hartford Courant reported that the specimen from Washington state was from its new tunnel, suggests the the collector, Albert Marsh, was present in 1937 to be interviewed by the reporter, because such information would not have been put on a label.

Four Images of Each Stone

  • Top Photo

    This shows the entire specimen stone as mounted in the wall. Taken by Peter Morenus, 2021.

  • Lower Photo

    This shows a closeup of a portion of that stone. Taken by Peter Morenus, 2021.

  • Outline Map

    LEFT: This is an outline map of the contiguous United States with a red star showing the state location of the specimen stone. The star does not show specimen location.

  • Geological Map

    This shows a thumbnail version of the state geological map linked below.

Bulleted List for Each Stone

  • Specimen Number

    This refers to the original specimen labeling, presumably in 1937, where there were only 48 states in the U.S.   These numbers 1-48 appear  on circular, brass tags that were inserted into drill holes made in the specimens. Each of these correspond to the numbers 1-48 for an alphabetical list of contiguous states that was cast as a bronze plaque mounted in the upper left of the exhibit.  An identical brass tag for Hawaii #50 was added after its 1959 statehood, a span of 22 years.  This stone protrudes the eastern corner of the exhibit wall and was mortared with a different cement.  The only other stone mortared into a corner protrudes from the western corner with similar cement. We conclude that this is the Alaska stone, though it lacks a brass tag, perhaps because the quartzite was too hard for the drill.   The numbers  and names #48 Alaska and #50 Hawaii were added to the brass plaque.  We have no record of who did this and when.

  • Description

    This provides a general description of the specimen such as "cut slab of fossiliferous limestone,"  or "broken boulder of granite gneiss."  The description follows a general rubric beginning with human modification (cut, polished, carved, etc.), shape (block, slab, boulder, cobble, etc.) and composition (limestone, basalt, granite, etc.). Following this is a specific description. Assistance by state survey staff are noted, and sometimes quoted, but the individuals providing that information are not named because their identifications were all preliminary and based on photos alone. As of November, 2022, thirity-one state geological surveys assisted.

  • Classification

    This follows a simple hierarchical classification of origin similar to what is used by the USGS.  We start with familar large categories, namely igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, complex, followed by: (1) type of igneous (plutonic, volcanic), (2) type of sedimentary (sandstone, limestone, etc.); (3) type of metamorphic (gneiss, quartzite, other); and (4) type of hydrothermal (pegmatite, vein, etc); or complex (altered, brecciated, etc.). Details follow. Fossiliferous stones are noted, 4 of which were mostly composed of fossils.  Of the sample, 17  were plutonic (intrusive)), 17 were sediment (10 sandstone/siltstone, 4 limestones, 1 silicified shale, and 1 petrified wood), 8 were metamorphic (4 quartzite, 3 gneiss, 1 serpentinite, and 1 silicified shale),  4 were volcanic (all  4 vesicular basalts). and 10 were hydrothermal (pegmatites and vein quartz)

  • Location & Occurrence

    This ranges from a complete unknown to a precise location within a stratum in a mapped geological formation, including comments of where the specimen was collected, and and a citable source for any details.  12 specimens were linked to a named formation. 18 specimens have locations independent of named formation.  When given a named formation by state survey staff, we generalized it for the collection by searching and linking to other sources.

  • Geologic Age

    Details are seldom known. If known, they are given either Eons, Eras, Periods, or Epochs on the geological time scale. Approximate numerical ages are sometimes given, either as information from survey staff or general results from internet searches.

  • Geoheritage

    This is highly variable by state, but collectively very interesting and helpful, for example the gray granite from Vermont's "Rock of Ages" quarry may be the most common gravestone in the U.S., and the Crab Orchard Sandstone of Tennessee was used to build the Country Music Hall of Fame.   This section points out superlatives, as with the oldest, youngest, and strangest rocks.

  • Links

    The first link is always to a geological map of the state compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey.   On that page are options for larger maps and the common map legend.  The second link is always to the state geological survey from the page of the Association of American State Geologists.   Other links are provided as warranted.

  • Other

    Anything goes here. Here we include the quotes from the only source documenting the rocks, a 1937 Hartford Courant article by an unnamed reporter.