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Missouri Earth Symbols

Missouri Earth SymbolsLeft to right: Galena, mozarkite, and a fossilized crinoid. (Crinoid: By Vassil – Alias Collections., CC BY-SA 3.0 link)

Missouri’s nicknames include Lead State and Cave State. Not surprisingly, galena (lead) is Missouri’s state mineral. Lead mines in southwestern Missouri make the state the top lead producer in the U.S.

The state rock is something less familiar, mozarkite. Mozarkite is a variety of quartz that occurs in various colors, typically green, red or purple. It is sometimes polished for use as jewelry. Mozarkite is most commonly found in Benton County.

Fossil ˆ

Missouri’s state fossil is a marine animal called a crinoid. Crinoids are commonly called sea lilies because they vaguely resemble plants. Rather than move about, like crayfishes, they are anchored to the seafloor.

Crinoids still survive today. However, they were much more common and diverse millions of years ago. Today, crinoid fossils are very common in the Midwest.

Missouri also has an official dinosaur, Hypsibema missouriensis. (The legislature later renamed it Parrosaurus missourienses.) Parrosaurus was related to hadrosaurs, or dick-billed dinosaurs.

Parrosaurus was discovered near the town of Glen Allen in 1942. The giant herbivore (plant eater) had more than 1,000 teeth!

Soil ˆ

Missouri’s unofficial state soil is Menfro. The deep, well-drained soils formed in 6-to-20-foot thick deposits of loess (dust left by Ice Age glaciers).

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