According to the DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES (DCNR)

Written in 2004 by John H. Barnes, there has already been an attempt to pass a bill through the State of Pennsylvania Legislature to name a state rock, but no action was completed.There is still no state mineral for Pennsylvania.

While thinking about the type of mineral that I would think would be a good state mineral for Pennsylvania, I realized that I picked the same mineral, Celestine, that has already been requested to be the state mineral.

I choose Celestine for a state mineral of Pennsylvania, because it was a mineral found in Pennsylvania that had never been seen anywhere in the whole world.In 1791, a German man, by the name of Schutz found a sample of Celestine in South-Central Pennsylvania.He took it back to Germany with him.It was found in Blair County. The best samples of Celestine was found in the sedimentary layers along a southwest to northeast axis from the Johnstown area up to the State College area.The first sample was found in Blair County.Some of the best samples were found in Blair County and Northumberland County.There was a lot of Celestine found while the Erie Canal was being dug out. Celestine is found usually in Limestone, but not in metal ore veins.A mineralogist by the name of Martin Heinrich Klaproth studied the sample of fiberous Celestine and posted the results of his study in 1797.

Celestine is a strontium sulfate.It is a pale blue material and its name comes from the Latin word for Ďskyí because of its color. (1)

Its element symbol is (SrSO4).One of the few other places this is found is in Madagascar.Most Celestine or Celestite is found in crystal form, but, the sample that was found in Pennsylvania was in a fibrous form.It is a type of Sedimentary rock.Below are some facts about Celestine: (2)

††††††† Color:Colorless to white, pale green to pale blue, even pale brown to a pale black.

††††††† Crystal Habit: Tabular to pyramidal.It can also be fibrous, or have a massive granular habit.

††††††† Crystal system: Orthorhombic

††††††† Cleavage: Perfect on some specimens, poor on other specimens

††††††† Fracture: Uneven

††††††† Tenacity: Brittle

††††††† Mohs Scale: 3 Ė 3.5(hardness)

††††††† Luster: Vitreous, pearly on the cleavages

††††††† Streak: White

††††††† Specific gravity: 3.95 Ė 3.97

 

I think Celestine would be a perfect state mineral for Pennsylvania, not because itís the mineral that is found in the most abundance, but because itís rare, and the first finding of this type of mineral was found here in Pennsylvania in 1791.

 

Geologically, most of what is Pennsylvania used to be sedimentary beachfront and undersea land.With the tectonic plate movement that created the folds and the volcanic action in the south mountains gave our state a very unique sedimentary rock outlay.The coal mines of the Appalaichan Mountains were once swampland with decaying debris that became covered in sediment.Over time, this sediment became rock, and the swamp became coal.There are areas of Pennsylvania that through folding and volcanic action this coal became anthracite coal.Coal and Calcite are the minerals that are most abundant in the state, but, I donít think itís the most unique.The fibrous and crystal forms of Celestine had to be created because of heat and pressure of either the folds of the mountains or the volcanic action almost making it a pre-metamorphic rock.

 

Celestine is a beautiful stone, that can be polished into gems, but it is extremely beautiful in its natural form.Minerals do not have to be abundant to be considered a state mineral.I think they should show something special about the state, and what Celestine shows that is special about the state of Pennsylvania is that we went from being a beach front and undersea area to beautiful mountains and healthy lush valleys.

I think that we should name a mineral that represents this beautiful action and land.

Royce A. Black

 

To Representative Stephen Bloom

for consideration of a Pennsylvania state mineral.

 

†††††††

†††††††