Symbols | World
Books | Store | Blog
About | Contact

Virginia Earth Symbols

Virginia: Earth SymbolsChesapecten jeffersonius (left) and Nelsonite. (Rock (Nelsonite): By Astynax – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0link.)

In a sense, Virginia has two official shells. Its official fossil is a prehistoric scallop named Chesapecten jeffersonius in honor of pResident Thomas Jefferson. Neighboring West Virginia’s state fossil is also named in honor of Jefferson.

Nelsonite is Virginia’s state rock. It is a speckled tan, black and white igneous rock composed primarily of the minerals ilmenite and apatite. Nelsonite is named for Nelson County, where it was first found near Roseland, but it is also found in Amherst and Roanoke counties.

In the early 1900s, Nelsonite was mined as a source of titanium (used in paint pigments and steel alloys) and calcium phosphate (used in artificial teeth and agricultural fertilizer).

George Washington might have appreciated some Nelsonite teeth, but his slaves—who were apparently the source of his “false teeth”—would have been even more appreciative.

Soil ˆ

Virginia’s unofficial state soil is Pamunkey. Pamunkey soils sustained Native Americans, including the Pamunkey Indians, before the settlers at Jamestown grew crops on them. Some have suggested that the soil’s high natural fertility and high crop yields contributed to the survival of the settlement.

Virginia HomeState Earth Home