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California Earth Symbols

California has an impressive collection of earth symbols.

Earth Symbols
Mineral & Mineralogic Emblem gold 1965
Gemstone benitoite 1985
Rock & Lithologic Emblem serpentine 1965
Fossil † saber-toothed cat (Smilodon californicus) 1973
Dinosaur † Augustynolophus morrisi 2017
Soil San Joaquin Soil 1997
California Earth Symbols

Eureka! Gold is more than California’s official mineral; it dominates its roster of state symbols.

California is nicknamed The Golden State. It’s an official nickname, adopted in 1968. The state motto, Eureka (“I have found it”), is thought to recall the discovery of gold in 1848.

California’s state flower and insect are the California poppy and dogface butterfly, which are largely yellow or gold.

The state colors are blue and gold. California even has an official gold rush ghost town, Bodie.

Do California’s symbols embrace any themes other than gold? California’s official gemstone is benitoite, which was discovered in California. Gemstone quality material has only been found in California’s Benito Gem Mine.

Fossil ˆ

California State FossilIf California adopted its favorite trilobite, it would have fossil symbols representing the Cenozoic, Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras. The trilobite would probably be the oldest state symbol to boot. (Dinosaur: By Nobu Tamura, CC BY-SA 4.0link / Trilobite (Mesonacis fremonti) — Used with permission of Western Trilobites Association — link)

California’s official fossil is a saber-toothed cat with the scientific name Smilodon. Many fine skeletons have been recovered from the famous La Brea Tar Pits, located in Los Angeles.

Another amazing thing about Smilodon is the fact that it lived so recently. In fact, the last California saber-tooth may have died not long before someone carved the first chipped stone bear, which is now the official state artifact.

Another state fossil candidate was a trilobite with the scientific name Fremontia fremonti (now Mesonacis fremonti). If adopted, it would have been the oldest state fossil.

Dinosaurs appeared long after trilobites and died out long before saber-toothed cats evolved. In 2017, a hadrosaur (or duck-billed dinosaur) was named California’s official dinosaur. Its scientific name is Augustynolophus morrisi.

Soil ˆ

California State Soil

California’s state soil represents the famous San Joaquin Valley, one of the most celebrated pieces of land in the world. While Silicon Valley is associated with high-tech (especially computers and the Internet), the San Joaquin Valley is known for its crops.

Many of the vegetables sold in stores across America are grown in the fertile soils of the San Joaquin Valley.

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