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South Dakota Earth Symbols

South Dakota State MineralFairburn agate, gold bison skull, and rose quartz crystal.

South Dakota’s earth symbols are concentrated in the western portion of the state.

Earth Symbols
Mineral Stone rose quartz 1966
Gemstone Fairburn agate 1966
Jewelry Black Hills gold 1988
Fossil † Triceratops (Triceratops) 1988
Soil Houdek 1990

The state gemstone is the Fairburn agate, which is found in southwestern South Dakota and neighboring Nebraska. The official mineral stone is rose quartz, which is found in the Black Hills. (Yes, it was really designated the official “mineral stone.”)

Tons of rose quartz have been extracted from several mines in the Black Hills.

South Dakotans designated Black Hills gold their official jewelry. Gold has long been mined in the Black Hills. However, jewelry made of gold found anywhere qualifies as Black Hills gold if it’s manufactured in the Black Hills.

Fossil ˆ

South Dakota State Fossil

South Dakota’s state fossil is also found in the western part of the state, between the Black Hills and the Missouri River. The famous three-horned dinosaur Triceratops was adopted in 1988. Triceratops is also a symbol of neighboring Wyoming.

Ironically, South Dakota’s most famous fossil is probably a tyrannosaur dubbed “Sue.” It was the largest, most complete and best preserved T. rex fossil ever found. It also became the subject of a huge legal battle.

There was a failed attempt to have Tyrannosaurus rex named the state fossil.

Soil ˆ

South Dakota State Soil

The most important state symbols may also be the shyest—state soils. In 1990, South Dakota adopted an official state soil called Houdek (HOO dek).

Anyone who has ever spent a day working in a wheat or corn field or mowing hay knows what it’s like to go home caked with “dirt.” On closer inspection, you’re actually covered with traces of the soil that’s nurturing your crops. It’s very different from the grease and grime that cover workers in factories and warehouses.

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