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Arizona Earth Symbols

Arizona State Metal

Forget cactus blossoms and mischievous ringtails. Arizona’s most memorable symbols may be its earth symbols.

Earth Symbols
Mineral wulfenite 2017
Gem turquoise 1974
Metal copper 2015
Fossil † Arizona petrified wood (Araucarioxylon arizonicum) 1988
Dinosaur † Sonorasaurus 2018
Soil Casa Grande (unofficial) Unofficial

Arizona alone is The Grand Canyon State. Its nicknames also include Copper State. That nickname is recalled by a copper-colored star on Arizona’s beautiful state flag. Copper is Arizona’s official metal, by the way.

Arizona’s state gem, turquoise, is also super popular. It also represents Nevada and New Mexico. We might think of it as a Southwest icon, just as the bison and meadowlark represent so many Great Plains states.

If you don’t know what wulfenite is, don’t feel bad. It was designated Arizona’s state mineral. The fire agate is commonly considered Arizona’s unofficial mineral.

Arizona State MineralLeft: wulfenite from Arizona’s Glove Mine; Right: fire agate from Slaughter Mine. (By Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.comCC BY-SA 3.0link / Fire agate (right): By Maricopa Mining LLC – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0link)

Fossil ˆ

Arizona State Fossil

Several states have adopted petrified wood as a symbol. However, the most famous fossilized wood in the world may be Arizona petrified wood.

This beautiful fossil recalls a tree that grew during the Triassic Period. The first dinosaurs lived during the Triassic, but there were no flowering plants yet.

Huge fossil logs are among the amazing sights in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park.

The tree that gave us Arizona’s state fossil has the scientific name Araucarioxylon arizonicum. One of its closest living relatives is South America’s monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana).

Not content with a state fossil, Arizonans adopted an official dinosaur. Its name, Sonorasaurus, recalls the Sonora Desert, where its fossils were found. Sonorasaurus was a sauropod, or “long neck,” similar to the more familiar brontosaurus.

Soil ˆ

Casa grande is the name of Arizona’s most important symbols, its unofficial state soil. It’s a reminder that even yuccas can’t survive without soil. At least some cacti apparently can survive without soil, however.

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