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Oklahoma Earth Symbols

Oklahoma Earth SymbolsEven if the barite rose (top left) and Georgia’s Cherokee rose are both phony symbols of the Trail of Tears, Oklahoma’s selenite crystals are the real deal.

Millions of years ago, much of the interior of North America lie under shallow seas. These ancient seas left a souvenir in the form of the Salt Plains of northwest Oklahoma, a unique geological area covering 11,000 acres.

Selenite (hydrous calcium sulfate) is a crystallized form of gypsum, a common mineral in sedimentary environments that can take on a great variety of crystal forms and shapes. The crystals also mimic their environment; for example, soils rich in iron oxide nurture hourglass crystals with a chocolate brown color.

Because these crystals form in wet soil, sand and clay particles are included within the crystal. These particles often form an “hourglass” shape inside the crystal. This hourglass shape is not found in selenite crystals anywhere else in the world.

Hourglass selenite crystals measuring seven inches in length have been found, along with complex combinations weighing 38 pounds.

The name Oklahoma means “home of the red man.” In fact, it originally served as a dumping ground for Native Americans displaced from their homelands across the United States. By 1890, more than 30 Native American nations and tribes had been forced to move to Indian Territory, or “Indian country.”

The most famous were the Cherokee, who were forced to migrate from their home in the Appalachians to Oklahoma. Their tragic march is remembered as the “trail of tears.”

Today, the Cherokee are commemorated by Georgia’s state flower, the Cherokee rose, and Oklahoma’s official rock, the rose rock. According to legend, the rocks were formed by the tears or blood of the Cherokee as they left their beloved home.

But could it all be a conspiracy?

The Cherokee rose is actually a plant that was introduced from Asia. And some Indians say the story about the rose rock is a lie. They claim white people made it up so they could make money selling rose rocks as souvenirs.

The hourglass selenite crystal was designated Oklahoma’s official crystal in 2005.

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Oklahoma also has a state soil and two state fossils.

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