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Nebraska Earth Symbols

Nebraska Earth SymbolsRight: Archie is on display at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln; Bottom right: blue chalcedony (Mammoth skeleton: By James St. John, CC BY Note: I modified this image.)

Largely covered by grasses, Nebraska isn’t a great place for rockhounds. Nevertheless, it has a state rock and gemstone.

Nebraska’s official rock is the aptly named prairie agate. The state gemstone, blue chalcedony, is also an agate. Both are found primarily in northwestern Nebraska and are sometimes used as jewelry.

Fossil ˆ

While other states adopted the woolly mammoth or Columbian mammoth, Nebraskans declared all mammoths their state’s official fossil.

Fossils of mammoths and mastodons have been found in every county in Nebraska. Among the most famous is a fossil nicknamed Archie. One of the world’s biggest elephant fossils, it was allegedly discovered by chickens pecking away at a hill in 1920.

Soil ˆ

Nebraska State Soil

What symbol could be more important than Nebraska’s state soil, the Holdrege Series? Named after a community in Phelps County, the series was established in 1917.

Holdrege soils are most common in south-central Nebraska and north-central Kansas. The soil is ideally suited to growing various cereal grains, such as wheat and corn.

Of course, soils support the grasses that fed the cattle which gave Nebraska the early nickname Beef State. Nebraska has also been called The Blackwater State, owing to the rich black soil that darkened its streams.

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