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New Hampshire Earth Symbols

New Hampshire Earth SymbolsSmoky quartz (left) and beryl, with granite background.

We’ve already met the Granite State’s official rock, granite.

New Hampshire’s official mineral is beryl. There’s a Mt. Beryl in southwestern New Hampshire.

Smoky quartz is New Hampshire’s official gem. Quartz is a common mineral found in many kinds of rocks, including granite.

But if you take a closer look, you can see a granite boulder on the seal. It looks like someone painted it yellow.

In fact, granite may be New Hampshire’s bedrock symbol. Its most popular nickname by far appears to be Granite State. Granite was also adopted as New Hampshire’s official rock.

State Quarter

A granite monument inscribed with New Hampshire’s state motto, “Live Free or Die,” was erected in Nashua in 1976 in celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial.

Those fiery words are part of a toast General John Stark sent to his wartime comrades in 1809. They became New Hampshire’s state motto in 1945.

However, New Hampshire’s most famous granite symbol is probably a beloved rock formation fondly dubbed Old Man of the Mountain.

First noted about 1805, Old Man of the Mountain was located in Franconia Notch—a U-shaped valley carved by glaciers. Daniel Webster and Nathanial Hawthorne are among the famous people who wrote about it.

Old Man of the Mountain was designated New Hampshire’s official emblem in 1945. (The only other official state emblem is probably Utah’s beehive.)

Sadly, the famous formation collapsed in 2003, a victim of weathering. Mourning fans left flowers at the base of the cliffs. There was even a proposal to place a likeness of Old Man of the Mountain on New Hampshire’s state flag. An even better place to put its likeness is New Hampshire’s state seal.

New Hampshire EmblemOn the left is my whimsical New Hampshire state seal, with the beached ship replaced by the iconic Old Man of the Mountain.

Soil ˆ

New Hampshire’s unofficial state soil is Marflow. Beloved by farmers, the Marlow series consists of well drained soils that formed in loamy glacial till, derived mainly from granite, gneiss and schist. They are often found on mountain side slopes in glaciated uplands and drumlins—smooth rounded hills left by Ice Age glaciers.

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